Piet van Vugt, owner of Van Vugt Kruiden, has been working in his father’s greenhouse from an early age. Since 1995 more types of herbs were planted and Van Vugt Kruiden started to focus solely on the cultivation of herbs. Nowadays 24 types of herbs are grown year round and in addition the product range consists of 60 types of specialties of seasonal herbs and edible flowers. The herbs are supplied to catering wholesalers and supermarkets throughout Europe and are packed according to the customer’s wishes, in the right quantity and with private labels.
In addition to the customer focus and wide product range, Van Vugt Kruiden also distinguishes itself by supplying all year round. “Continuity is the most important”, according to Piet van Vugt. This product availability is guaranteed by Van Vugt Kruiden’s cooperation with different cultivation locations worldwide.
Halfway 2019 the cultivation will be moved to a new location, consisting of a greenhouse, processing room and demo area. In addition to showing the products to customers, the demo area is also used to experiment with the cultivation of new types of herbs.
With the construction of the new greenhouse everything is focused on sustainability. Therefore the new plant will be constructed as an all-electric greenhouse, without a gas connection.
For the electricity supply solar panels will be placed on the roof of the processing room. This electricity is used to drive the cooling machines for the 8 cold stores. The heat that is released during the cooling process is stored in a low-caloric heat buffer of about 45 degrees Celsius. This heat is used for the heating of both the greenhouse and the office.
The solar energy is also used to drive the electric boilers with high-caloric heat of about 95 degrees Celsius. This heat is used for the heating of the greenhouse during cold periods, when the low-caloric heat is not enough.
Next generation iSii
The next generation iSii process computer of Hoogendoorn Growth Management is used to control all above described processes. “The biggest advantage for us are the possibilities that are offered by the iSii computer”, says Piet van Vugt. The intelligent controls of the iSii maintain a stable greenhouse climate at all times. Within the context of sustainability operational costs and CO2 emissions are reduced to the minimum. In addition, the partnership with Codema also offers advantages. This makes that the iSii process computer and the Codema irrigation systems are fully aligned with each other.
Next to climate management and water management in the greenhouse, the iSii also measures and records the RH (relative humidity) and temperature in the cold stores, to ensure the herbs optimally retain their freshness after harvesting.
The all-electric concept is a new thing for Van Vugt Kruiden. In addition they will start using artificial lighting in the new greenhouse. According to Piet van Vugt, the challenge is therefore to ensure that everything runs smoothly. “We are doing things that are yet to be invented. All information and data that is available is always based on the cultivation of one type of product, but we will be growing about 100 different types of herbs and edible flowers in one place”. For the new greenhouse they will therefore have to see what works best. For this purpose the demo area will be used to try different things and evaluate the effects.
“Where possible we will make use of data. At the start of the new location we will begin to gather data and we will use this to learn from and improve, we will take the historical data and draw conclusions from it. It would not be wise to not do this if we have the possibilities. In that respect, we have full confidence in the future”.