Australia: Chris Millis of Flavorite tomatoes about his experiences with ModulAIR greenhouse

1. What is your educational background and when did you start working for the company?
I have a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree from the University of Melbourne. After the university I joined the family business in 1998. I am still working here.

2. Could you tell us something about the history and the make-up of the company?
Flavorite was established in 1994 as a joint venture between two families, Millis and Nichol. My father Mark Millis and his partner Warren Nichol started up the company. The company is still a strong family business managed by these two families. Warren died three years ago and his son Michael has taken his place.

3. How many people are employed by Flavorite? 
At present we have a workforce of 250; during the summer this figure goes up to 300.

4. Which crops do you grow?
We grow:
- truss tomatoes - Plaisance, Endeavor, Merlice
- cherry tomatoes - on the truss or loose – Conchita, Tastery, Sassari
- capsicums – red, orange, yellow – Davos, Sven, Orangery

5. How is your Marketing structured?
Our marketing is taken care of by our marketing firm Flavorite Marketing P/L. Flavorite
Marketing takes care of all the supermarkets and wholesalers and a small part of the export to Asia.

6. How long have you been working now with Van der Hoeven?
Since 2010.

7. How did the cooperation with Van der Hoeven work out in this ModulAIR project?
The cooperation went very well. From the initial phase to the design and offer phase, Van der Hoeven worked really hard to ensure that everything was clear and working in accordance with our wishes. The installation phase was also a success because the plants could be planted on time; this is not so easy when you are building a semi-closed greenhouse.

8. Can you tell us something about previous experiences with Van der Hoeven?
Our previous greenhouses were all traditional heated greenhouses. They were supplied by Van der Hoeven. We were very happy with them. The cooperation is well- structured, while construction and completion are on schedule, all in accordance with the Australian safety standards. There was also good communication between FHT and Van der Hoeven. Any problems that arose were dealt with quickly and therefore did not delay the construction process.

9. What made you decide to choose the Van der Hoeven ModulAIR greenhouse?
The design of the climate room is well thought out: the outside wall has an opening window and there is continuous venting at the top of the climate room. The EC powder-coated fan is also a well thought-out design: quiet, rustproof, good electronic performance and it doesn’t take up space in the climate room.

10. What do you think of the new greenhouse?
The first crop is almost ready to be harvested. The crop looks good so far, as does the fruit set. The plants look strong and healthy. The cultivation system is very different compared with cultivating in a traditional greenhouse. We had a number of technical issues that tend to arise with the delivery of a greenhouse. These have been solved to our satisfaction by the relevant parties. So far, so good. We are looking forward to a warm and dry summer, so that we can see what can be achieved with the climate in the greenhouse.

11. Why did you choose Van der Hoeven for the construction of your latest projects?
- Greenhouse design and technology
- A good building partner
- Safety
- Meets the deadlines - Project management

12. What are your ambitions for the coming five years? 
Master growing in a semi-closed greenhouse.

Source: Van der Hoeven Newletter

For more information 
Van der Hoeven Horticultural projects
T: +31 88 262 66 66

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