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Dutch queen Máxima gets a taste of horticulture at Koppert CressThe trophy cabinet of Rob Baan is jam-packed by now. Last year, the director of Koppert Cress received the King William I Plaque for Sustainable Entrepreneurship from the hands of Queen Máxima. Last week, the Queen sealed the prize with a visit to Koppert Cress, accompanied by Director Klaas Knot of De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank). Nevertheless, the best known Dutch horticulturist did not make it into a one-man show, but he used the visit to promote Dutch horticulture to the fullest.
To that purpose he found an attentive audience in the Queen. With interest she watched the taste lessons in which children of the local primary school should recognize flavors of licorice plant, cucumber herb and kohlrabi with saffron and then, in the experimental garden, she took plenty of time to sample the many edible plants and flowers to taste and to smell. Next, the Queen got a tour of the greenhouse of Koppert Cress, which is equipped with solar collectors and an underground heat storage, while using LED lighting for the production.
From behind his famous Molteni stove of which only three exist worldwide - "It weighs 2.5 tons and costs a ton of money" - Rob explained that the stove is a decoy to lure the best chefs to his company. "The world’s greats have cooked here." He strongly recommends the Dutch Cuisine rule: We need to turn around the current standard of 80% meat and 20% vegetables. Nutrition is the basis of health. That is why we participate in medical research in which the health value of vegetables for the human body is made clear."
Máxima then visited Rob & Bob Fair Food, the new company canteen of Koppert Cress, where Rob treats his staff and visitors to free vegetable meals. The Queen spoke with Tamara de Weijer, President of the Physician & Food Association, about the importance of healthy food in the workplace. The doctor pointed out that a disease like diabetes II simply can be prevented by eating healthier food.
Seen off by many Westlanders, Máxima took her leave of Koppert Cress. Rob Baan looked back proudly. "Today we have explained how sustainable Dutch horticulture is. The queen asked more questions than I had time to answer. What she does not know about horticulture by now, is not worth knowing."
Publication date: 3/10/2017
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