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Germany: Growing summer-tasting tomatoes all year roundNeurather Gärtner is the brainchild of four visionary entrepreneurs in the German vegetable growing industry. Wilhelm Baum, Dirk Driessen, Carsten Knodt and Matthias Draek established the company in 2011. Today it has 16 ha of greenhouses, and about 7.5 ha have grow lights.
In 2015, the entrepreneurs began exploring ways to grow tomatoes year-round so they could offer a local for local product in the winter months to their retail customers. Creating the business case was a challenge as electricity prices are high and the percentage of customers able to pay a somewhat higher price is quite low. The co-owners discussed various options with Philips Lighting and advisors from their horticulture department calculated a business case for the 2.5 ha installation. These calculations provided input for intensive discussions with the company’s retail customers to make this strategic decision. The goal was to expand the growing season across the entire year and strengthen customer loyalty by offering a unique local for local product for their region.
In 2015, Neurather Gartner became the first German nursery to implement grow lights in 2.5 ha of their nursery. They worked with Philips Lighting’s partners, BE de Lier/Codema and Agrolux, to install the system, which combines Philips SON-T HPS toplighting with Philips GreenPower LED interlighting. Baum: “We are very happy with the support we received during this project. A plant specialist from Philips Lighting helped us select the suitable lighting product and light recipe based on the varieties of tomatoes we grow. BE de Lier/Codema and Agrolux were very competent and answered all of the questions we had.” Based on the results achieved in the initial installation, the company installed a similar hybrid grow light system in an additional 5 ha greenhouse in October 2017. Thanks to these lighting installations, fresh, summer-tasting Mini Cherry, Mini Cocktail, Mini Date tomatoes are now found year-round on German supermarket shelves in North Rhine-Westphalia.
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Publication date: 1/30/2018
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