This year, the Gartnerhallen innovation prize will be handed out during the annual conference in Norway. This year there were 24 nominations, from which four finalists were chosen. Last weekend, Skjaergaarden Gartneri was declared winner. Skjaergaarden distinguished itself mostly by the knowledge and application of soil technology. The company focuses on soil improvement by means of compost, organic cabbage, and green fertilization. They are continuously releasing new cultures and types, adding to the complete value chain. This year they grew tons of melons on the cold ground, which would have been previously unthinkable in Norway. Kristin Stenersen, Skjaergaarden: "We use cultivation methods which are not often used in traditional agriculture and meticulously provide balanced nutrition, through analyses of both the soil and the plants.
One of the other finalists was Bjertnaes & Hoel. This company introduced baby romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes in Norway. Ole Davidsen: "Bjertnaes & Hoel are forerunners in vegetable growth and the development of new products and cultivation methods. By growing the baby romaine and the cherry tomatoes, they have shown themselves to be very capable to anticipate trends. This year they were the first with sweet potatoes in Norway, something which seemed impossible a few years ago. Bjertnaes & Hoel develops new varieties, and applies new technologies. The company also strongly emphasizes expertise and education."
Bjertnaes & Hoel has the GlobalGAP certificate - Good Agricultural Practice. This guarantees that the company is dedicated to a sustainable growth and good working conditions.
Strawberry growers Ekeberg & Myhrene were among the finalists. Also because of their efforts, the Norwegian strawberry season was extended by three months. In consultation with Tom Christensen, Gartnerhallen, they decided to use more fully grown strawberry plants and further breed these in nursery tunnels. Because of this, more Norwegian strawberries are on the market, an effect which will be strengthened because other strawberry growers will follow suit. The large merit of Ekeberg & Myhrene is that they are, together with researchers of the Norwegian university for environmental and bio-science (NMBUO) active for the development of new technology. They share there knowledge with other growers, both nationally and internationally.