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Koos van der Burg switches to stone wool

"NL: “Sweet tomatoes sell better"

Tomato nursery Koos van der Burg is the Albert Heijn supplier when it comes to Roma tomatoes, also known as pomodori or plum tomatoes. From the modern 3.5 ha greenhouse complex in Berkel and Rodenrijs, annually over 2 million kilos of these semi-sweet tomatoes find their way to customers of all AH stores in the Netherlands.

After years of growing leaf vegetables (such as endive, lettuce and bok choy), Van der Burg switched to tomato in 1989, and thus also to hydroponic cultivation. "Over the past three years we did tests with stone wool from Benfried, being Multi Grow Premium. That went so well, that this year we switched completely to this mat," Koos van der Burg says.

According to Van der Burg, he gets more tomatoes per square meter from his greenhouse, but the tomato, he says, is sweeter than usual. "In mid-March we had our first harvest and then you taste your own product, of course. I found the tomato to be sweeter and tastier. From my family and staff, I got the same reaction. But," he continued, laughing, "the deciding factor was my mother, who's eaten tomatoes for 70 years. She indicated that she found the tomatoes to be sweeter and tastier."

"Products with a natural sweet flavor is what the consumer is looking for," Koos continued. "This didn't come from me though, but yesterday I heard chef Pierre Wind say this during a lecture. The current development in our culture fits here nicely."

Van der Burg realizes that this is the taste of a smaller group. Therefore he is pleased that AH is conducting a comprehensive study next year (including taste panels) to the (taste) results of different varieties and growing media. "That is when our feeling will be transformed into evidence and we can say that tomatoes grown on Multi Grow Premium mats indeed are sweeter," said Van der Burg.

Sales tomatoes through Best of Four

For more information:
Benfried B.V.
Hooipolderweg 1
2635 CZ Den Hoorn
t +31(0)15 256 93 56
f +31(0)15 262 34 22