Canada: Dutch greenhouse family continues to expand

In 1996, Paul Moerman emigrated from Holland to Canada with his parents, who saw better opportunities there for the greenhouse industry. For Paul as a kid, it was a big change moving to a new country, but the people in Canada, were very accepting, making it an easy transition. Now, the Moerman family thrives, both in Canada and the Netherlands.

Paul and Corne are fourth generation greenhouse growers/owners. They're part of the Moerman "dynasty", a greenhouse family so notorious that their history was chronicled in a book: "Land van Glas" by Koen van Wijk. Paul tells us about his grandfather, who started a greenhouse in Bleiswijk in the Netherlands. "All his sons and sons-in-law had a job related to the greenhouse industry. All of the second generation growers had the greenhouses in Bleiswijk. From the third generation, there are three cousins in BC, Canada and three cousins in Holland left."



For Paul, being part of a family business has added value: "We make major and minor decisions quickly, everyone knows what is going on at all times."

Peppers

Paul and his cousin Corne currently have 24 hectares of greenhouses: 12 in South Surrey, and 12 in Delta (South Vancouver). The produce is graded centrally in Surrey, BC.

In the past, they've experimented with mini peppers, but after some problems with a virus in the seeds from the seed company, they decided to grow virus-free varieties. Now they're growing regular bell peppers, which are sold through Windset Farms. "Windset has done a great job selling our product over the last years," Paul says. "We communicate with them daily regarding forecasts, sales, etc."

Expansion plans
Paul and Corne aren't sitting still. Having been in the business for 10 years, they are slowly taking over from their parents. "It is a big challenge to take over the business, but we are both excited to be doing so."

And that excitement isn't just limited to words: The cousins just bought 12 hectares of land right beside the greenhouse in South Vancouver. "We are expanding 6 hectares in 2018, and hopefully again 6 hectares in 2019," Paul concludes.

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