ZON fruit & vegetables will be supplying Dutch Intense tomatoes all year round. Grower Corné Smulders will be putting loose tomatoes under light for the first time this winter season. "With year-round Dutch Intense tomatoes we focus on quality and certainty."
Smulders has been growing Intense tomatoes since 2007. He has also been importing Spanish product for three years, along with a ZON seller. But this disagreed with him. "It goes well until the weather changes. Then the structure changes. With cold you get a sticky, soft tomato." Externally it all looks fine - but the internal quality is lacking. This is especially disappointing because the Intense tomato is used a lot for cutting. "If the slices of tomato stick together they can hardly do anything with them."
Smulders therefore decided to grow Intense tomatoes all year round himself. At the moment SON-T-lighting and a shade are being placed over 1,200 m2. That 1,200 m2 is slightly more than the area on which Smulders started growing the chopping tomato eight years ago. Now his total area (2.9 hectares) is full. He has mastered the variety, which is known to be difficult, in recent years. The sales also suit him. "You're not only busy with the cultivation, but also the market with ZON. The lines are short and all the energy you put in, you get back."
Those short lines also explain why Smulders and ZON are brave enough to put the Intense tomato under light. In the Netherlands this isn't done at the moment. The production of loose tomatoes under light is too expensive compared to the Spanish product. Yet seller Maurice Langeslag of ZON fruit & vegetables already has the first orders in. "The Intense tomato is a special tomato. We supply to a lot of cutters and the quality has to be good for that." Sticky slices aren't an option. "They have to cut through them - this already costs money. The processed products are then used in a production line. If it is stopped by quality problems or a shortage in production, damage quickly adds up. We can now avoid that risk." He points out the problems in recent weeks in the Spanish horticulture. "With year round Dutch product we focus on the target audience that chooses quality and security."
That target audience is mostly known to Langeslag. Within the Intense market the lines are short and the demand is equal almost all year round. "We only really have a small dip in the summer. This is when people go on holiday, and buy less petrol station sandwiches," explains Langeslag. "But other than this the demand is very stable and everything is premeditated." The sales organisation can therefore also offer price all year round. "This makes the additional charge for a year round Dutch quality product less."
For more information:
Maurice Langeslag (e-mail)
ZON fruit & vegetables
5928 RH VENLO
0031 (0) 77-323 96900031 (0) 77-323 9690