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Gerard Breed (JH Wagenaar):

"We are one of the most versatile fruit and vegetable traders in the Netherlands"

Whenever bent cucumbers are mention in the media, director Gerard Breed of JH Wagenaar from Hoogkarspel frowns. "The impression is often given that they are wasted or thrown away. This is complete nonsense. We sell millions to the industry."

JH Wagenaar is the industrial specialist within The Greenery. Besides greenhouse vegetables like cucumbers, peppers and courgettes, open ground vegetables such as celeriac, cauliflower, turnips, beets, cabbage, sprouts and gherkins are supplied to companies in the processing industry, like preserves, cutters, dryers and the frozen industry. The main sales countries besides the Netherlands are Germany, Scandinavia and the Czech Republic.

Gerard Breed

"We are especially unique in the industry trade of cucumbers. In a number of the factories that we supply to, a lot of cucumbers are processed into sweet and sour disks, the so-called 'bites'. A lot of cucumbers also often end up in salads, sauces and spreads. The bent cucumbers are excellent for this," says Gerard. "We have a large network and receive them from all over the Netherlands. In winter we switch, albeit to a lesser extent, to the Spanish season. Due to our position on the market we can handle large volumes."

Fresh market
Besides being active in the industry branch, JH Wagenaar is also fully active in the fresh segment, consisting of the entire fruit and vegetable package. This combination comes from the time before the Steltenpool and Wagenaar companies merged. The first focussed on the fresh trade and the second on the industry. Now Wagenaar has been combining both activities successfully for years. "We are one of the most versatile fruit and vegetable wholesalers in the Netherlands. Wagenaar exports fresh market products within Europe to the wholesale, retail and convenience sellers. And with success, thankfully, as we are making good figures."

North Holland Specialist
JH Wagenaar is location at Tolpoort in Hoogkarspel, the open ground vegetable centre of The Greenery. "An ideal location. We speak our growers' language and they walk in here without a problem. There alre also sellers from The Greenery active for the open ground vegetable segment here," says Gerard. "We are the biggest player in the area of the sales of North Holland open ground products such cauliflower, iceberg lettuce and sprouts. Another speciality within the fresh market are the storage products. We are specialised in staple products such as cabbage, celeriac, carrots, turnip, beets, onions and potatoes. We see ourselves as the North Holland specialist."

Team J.H. Wagenaar

A product exclusive to Wagenaar is the Opperdoezer Ronde. This potato variety can only be grown in the sandy clay soil around the village of Opperdoes in North Holland. The entire harvest is out of the ground by the end of August, after which Wagenaar takes care of the sales and distribution. The Opperdoezer Ronde has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), a European regulation which gives regional products protection against copycats. There is a rush for the potato every year, due to its thin, tender peel.

Another Wagenaar showpiece is grower Vaalburg's, or 'Farmer Ted from the Zuid-Schermer, celeriac. Vaalburg washes, cuts and packages for Wagenaar, in a wide variety of packaging, in which he works by the philosophy that healthy soil produces a good product, and that crop protection agents should be limited to a minimum. "The celeriac season didn't have as good a start as last season this year," says Gerard. "The area in the Netherlands has shrunk slightly, as well as in Germany and Belgium. But the situation in Eastern Europe is of far more influence than just the area."

"This is the case for a lot of open ground vegetables. We are 90% dependent on the export for cabbage in the Netherlands. If the Russian market doesn't open, we will never be able to consume or export this good harvest we have to neighbouring countries like Germany or the United Kingdom. I personally expect, for cabbage at least, that Putin will open the Russian market earlier. Cabbage is very important to the Russians as an affordable food. I can't imagine he will leave the people without food."

For more informaiton:
Gerard Breed
J.H. Wagenaar
Tolweg 7
1616 AT Hoogkarspel
Tel: 0031 228-566417