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Alexandre Novi of Exploitation NOVI about hydroponic lettuce

“We are looking into this exciting technique”

French company Exploitation NOVI exports 95% of their winter lettuce. This family-run business specialises in varieties of lettuce. “We have, in addition to our open fields, almost 11 hectares of greenhouses on two farms”, says Alexandre Novi, sales manager at the company, which is based in Provence, France.

“We export mainly to Germany and Switzerland”, he says. “We also sell to
the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and, sometimes Belgium. We would like to increase our presence in the Netherlands and Belgium.” Their clients include importers and supermarkets.

They start their season with a new concept: “mix box”. “This is a small
box with four heads of four different varieties of lettuce”, explains

Exploitation NOVI grows lollo rossa, lollo bionda, green and
red oak leaf, green and red batavia, red lettuce and salanova, a very
leafy lettuce variety. They also pack in poly bags and flowpacks.

The company starts with the French salads at the beginning of November. After the lettuce seeds are planted, it takes six to eight weeks before they can be harvested. “We cut the lettuce in the morning, then prepare the pallets”, says Alexandre. “We use a cooling system that incorporates total
immersion. The lettuce is sent to our clients on that same day.”

Alexandre says they have had no rain since May. “The weather in the Provence is an advantage for our growing process. The dry environment and sunshine allows a nice and good development of roots and of the salads.”

He added that like some other growers, Exploitation NOVI is also looking
to develop stronger crops and stronger textures for their lettuce “This
helps reduce pathogens as well as insect infestation. Insects don't like
the stronger textures, so they go elsewhere.”

‘We are looking into the exciting technique of water-grown lettuce”, says
Alexandre. “We have no experience in it yet, but we have seen other
businesses in the sector build these kinds of greenhouses. It is very
interesting because you can increase efficiency, while at the same time,
reducing the number of phytosanitary products you need. It would be really nice to use this cultivation technique, here in Provence.”

“Our priority is to provide fresh lettuce on a regular basis,” says the
Sales Manager. “We are committed to customer trust and satisfaction. The
best quality at the best price.”

For more information:
Alexandre NOVI
Exploitation Novi SAS
Mob: +33 6 12 93 25 02
Publication date: