Photo report HortiDaily High Tech Greenhouse Tour

Last week we hosted our second edition of the HortiDaily High Tech Greenhouse Tour. A group consisting of more than 50 greenhouse growers, researchers, investors and vertical farmers joined us for two days, to visit some of the most innovative projects and growers in Holland.

We started the first day in The Westland with a visit to Greenpack; a very large and impressive packing facility that is owned by a group of several large Dutch greenhouse growers. This visit showed the power of consolidation and collaboration; by teaming up, the Dutch growers are able to pack and ship their products in a very small time frame. All of Greenpack's growers truck their harvest from production locations across Holland, Spain and Tunisia to the central packing facility in the Westland Area. This way, the growers can focus on growing a quality product at the greenhouse, while Greenpack takes care of packing and sorting and marketing, by using innovative automation and packing lines. During our visit we saw many sorts of tomatoes being packed into various types of packaging, but during the season bell peppers and cucumbers are also handled.

One of the packing halls at Greenpack (click here for the complete photo report)

The second stop was Redstar's Ultra Clima Greenhouse in Dinteloord, in the South of Holland. Redstar is one of the largest tomato growers in Holland. They have several production locations spread across the country, but also production abroad in Spain and the UK. At their recently built 10 hectare Ultra Clima, greenhouse builder KUBO showed us all the ins and outs of growing in a semi closed setting with overpressure. The concept, developed by Canadian greenhouse grower Casey Houweling, enables them to realize better quality and higher yield with lower inputs. The use of fans creates a uniform climate, while overpressure prevents insects from entering the greenhouse. This lowers the disease and infestation burden, lessening the need for crop protection. The Ultra-Clima also makes it possible to cultivate with minimal consumption of fossil fuels. Or even to use heating sources that do not impact the environment at all, such as low grade waste heat or low grade geothermal heat.

Inside the Ultra Clima at Redstar (click here for the complete photo report)

The third stop was the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven to visit Philips' GrowWise Center. After a great lunch with LED grown leafy greens provided by Philips, we got to see the world's largest facility dedicated to the research of LED application in city farming. On a surface of 234 square meters, scientists are finding out how well lighting, climate control, software controls and sensors work together. We visited two large multi layer climate chambers to see various lighting strategies in different crops; we even saw multi layer strawberry crops!

Multi layer strawberry crops at GrowWise (click here for the complete photo report)

After GrowWise we got in the bus again to drive to our final destination of the first day; Tomato grower Wim Peters in Someren. Peters was one of the first Dutch tomato growers to install LED interlighting on a large commercial scale. Peters grows with a hybrid lighting system with LED interlighting and HID toplighting. After he obtained results that exceeded expectations in his first greenhouse, he also installed LED interlighting in his second greenhouse with the aim to supply tomatoes of the highest quality all year round. During the tour Peters and his head grower explained how LEDs helped them to improve quality and gain a better and more efficient control of the climate.

Campari tomatoes grown with LEDs at Wim Peters (click here for the complete photo report)

The second day we started again in the Westland with a visit to the Cressperience at Koppert Cress, where Rob Baan's son Stijn gave us insight in the cress grower's marketing strategy and vision to ensure awareness and create demand for its unique products. Many of the participants got to taste many supersizing cresses and got a glimpse of Koppert Cress' trail nursery with many ancient and exotic herbs and vegetables that most of them had never heard of before.

Cool crops at Koppert Cress (click here for the complete photo report)

After Koppert Cress we went to the Improvement Centre of Delphy in Bleiswijk. Delphy is the new name of DLV Plant - GreenQ. During this visit the group was split in three smaller groups and visited the trials inside the Improvement Centre where the participants encountered new research on, for example, the effects of LED on tomato, LED interlights in greenhouse strawberry production, efficiency in rose cultivation and a visit to the lisianthus trial with different substrates. Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious lunch that was sponsored by Delphy, it was time for the educational part of the day when Delphy's Wim van der Ende gave a presentation on Next Generation Growing, explaining the background and systems used in this approach and how to achieve an energy efficient cultivation.

Maximum energy efficiency in pepper crops at Delphy (click here for the complete photo report)

After a very educational seminar it was time for the last stop of our tour; a visit to the Horticulture Business Days in Gorinchem. Here the participants had the opportunity to catch up with suppliers of horticulture technology. With more than 450 exhibits, it is quite a large show and many of the growers enjoyed catching up with other growers at the show as well.

Click here for a high resolution picture of the group

It was a pleasure to host such a large group with growers of so many nationalities. We hope that everybody was able to gain useful experiences and went back home prepared for the future of controlled environment agriculture.

We would like to thank all the participants and locations that we visited. A special thank you goes out to the sponsors of the 2nd edition of the HortiDaily High Tech Greenhouse Tour for their generous help:

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