Windset Farms to introduce greenhouse grown bok choy and strawberries

Serving their customers with the widest and most varied products accompanied with intelligent consumer marketing via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. That is the strategy of Windset Farms, one of the largest greenhouse growers in North America. At the CPMA in Vancouver last week, Windset Farms proudly unveiled two new remarkable products; greenhouse grown bok choy and greenhouse grown strawberries. Talking to Jaap Dane of Windset, we learn that Windset continues to introduce interesting crops as the US' market continues to request them.

Windset Farms' Jaap Dane at the CPMA in Vancouver last week

Hydroponic bok choy

The introduction of greenhouse grown bok choy is a logical step for Windset Farms," said Jaap Dane, Windset Farms sales director. "Our customers are demanding innovative new products, and greenhouse grown bok choy is a product that perfectly fits in line with the demand in Vancouver, where many Asian consumers live". According to Dane, it took some effort before they found the right way to grow bok choy in the greenhouse. "We have a lot of experience with hydroponic butter lettuce and recently also added oakleaf and frisee to our product catalogue. Hydroponic bok choy is something completely different, we had to find the right cultivation strategies together with the right variety. The products will be introduced commercially at a later stage, but the market already shows great interest in the product."

Even though the industry might sometimes be sceptical about the future of greenhouse growers in Europe and North America, Dane said the interest in greenhouse certified produce is still increasing in North America. "I truly believe that the greenhouse growers in the United States, Canada and Mexico have a great future ahead of them. Many do not realize how big the demand can become. Look at all of the restaurants and food chains in The United States, these are still using many field grown products in their dishes. More recently the first Canadian fast food restaurant made the switch to greenhouse grown beef tomatoes. This was the first restaurant to make the switch after the realisation that the consumer now demands healthier and tastier ingredients. We still have a long way to go, but the demand will only increase."

Tastier strawberries

That increasing demand for [certified] greenhouse grown produce is also the driving force behind Windset's move into greenhouse grown strawberries. As a former trader of fresh produce in The Netherlands, Dane knows everything about the marketing possibilities of the strawberries. "The Dutch have been importing open field grown strawberries from Spain for many years. But since the introduction of better and tastier varieties that have been grown in domestic glasshouses, the market has changed and growers learned that consumers are willing to pay more for a decent, cleaner, and safer product. We truly believe that this can also be the case in North America, where greenhouse grown already has a better reputation than field grown. It will only be a matter of time before the right products are placed in the market at the right price.

Offering the total package

With a total production acreage of more than 500 hectares, Windset Farms is now one of the largest greenhouse growers in North America. According to Dane, the company's dedication to their growers and customers is the key to their success. "Our philosophy is to offer our customers the total package, with all products, and varieties on a year round basis. That is the only way to build up long term relations and make good marketing agreements."

In order to fulfil the demand, Windset Farms is willing to go above and beyond for their customers. "We are always there to help the customer and we will never refuse them anything. If we can't offer them a certain product, we will buy it for them, or import it from elsewhere. In the past we imported from New Zealand, Spain and Mexico. Right now we have our own production in Mexico, which will be scaled up to 100 hectares this year. All Certified Greenhouse Grown."

For more information:
Windset Farms
Jaap Dane

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