The first greenhouse asparagus haves already been harvested at Teboza, in Helden, Limburg. "Extremely early; we were also surprised ourselves. Normally, the first asparagus arrive in late January," says Will Teeuwen. "The supply will still be limited in the coming weeks, but the quality of these first asparagus is excellent. Although we have not had an extreme winter, the nights have been fairly cold, with sometimes a light frost, and that is just right for the plant to get enough cold."
Once again, the coronavirus pandemic will bring a number of challenges, and according to Will, the main one will be related to personnel management. "People really want to come; that's not the problem. Many people were only able to work with us partially or not at all last season and are therefore very motivated to come again and earn some money. The first people have already arrived here, but we now see that the second batch is already having a lot of trouble getting a plane ticket. These people are from Greece, so hopefully they'll manage to fly, because if they have to come by bus or car, they will be on the road for a week. We made great investments to ensure the staff is protected from the coronavirus, also in our sorting and packaging lines."
Het lijkt misschien nog ver weg, maar voor ons komt de start van het aspergeseizoen snel dichterbij. We zijn dan ook druk bezig met de voorbereidingen. #minitunnels #aspergeseizoen2021 #wittegoud #voorbereidingen pic.twitter.com/iG6cB1vxPk— TEBOZA (@tebozAsperge) January 14, 2021
It may seem far away, but for us the start of the asparagus season is fast approaching. We are therefore busy with the preparations.
"I see the availability of staff as the biggest challenge. The sale of the asparagus has been greenlighted. Everyone is looking forward to starting again. Normally, the first asparagus always go to the catering industry, but they will now have to reach the consumer in another way. Still, besides the fact that the catering industry is closed, there is as much enthusiasm as in other years. Most of the asparagus are consumed domestically, but the export market is also looking good. Last year, exports completely collapsed after March 16; now the first asparagus are already being exported, especially to destinations outside Europe, such as Asia."
"Besides, the Dutch asparagus supply is shrinking as a result of company closures and growers who are making different choices due to the challenges in the field of personnel management. The extreme weather of the past summers has also not been beneficial. As a result, there is less supply available across the board,” says Will.
Asparagus harvesting robot
Teboza will be working for the first time this year with the harvesting robot of the company Cerescon, which will harvest part of the asparagus acreage. "We are eagerly looking forward to this. This harvester features unique patented technology that makes it possible to detect asparagus underground, thereby helping improve the quality and quantity. We see robotisation in the asparagus harvest as an excellent opportunity to continue growing asparagus in a responsible and sustainable way in the Netherlands, so that consumers can continue to enjoy fresh, delicious and healthy asparagus in the future.”