The Greenery Grower, Dennis van Luijk, farms on 3 hectares in the Netherlands, growing traditional purple and white eggplants, as well as mini, round flamed, long flamed, green, and Japanese varieties. Now he focuses on graffiti eggplants, and it is now paying off. This striking product's volume has already increased by 15%, and the last quarter has only just begun, says to The Greenery.
More volume, retailers and consumers
"We sold more volume in 2021: our products can be found in more and more Dutch stores, and we're now exporting to the rest of Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, and North America, so we're reaching more and more consumers too," says Dennis.
Eggplants in general are growing in demand, creating more room for special eggplants. There is a vega(n) trend and preference for colorful global cuisine among consumers which drives the growth in volume, too. In fact, this has led to a 10% rise in consumer spending, making the eggplant one of the fastest risers among vegetables.
Specialist knowledge and a strong product
"We've spent years investing in and focusing on graffiti eggplant, and that's paying off now. We've been growing this variety for five years, which has resulted in specialist knowledge that you don't build up overnight."
"Peet Janssen, an experienced eggplant grower, transferred his knowledge to us. The great thing is that he's still actively involved in the cultivation process, and it's precisely that involvement and specialist knowledge that ensures a good, strong product," Dennis explains.
Van Luijk and The Greenery have been partners for years, so they have a clear picture of the weekly supply, and can respond directly and flexibly to market demand.
Providing green energy to 1.500 homes
Sustainability is important to Dennis. "We use natural pest control methods, our cogeneration plant converts natural gas into heat we use to heat the greenhouse and electricity that is returned to the heating network, serving 1,500 households. We're also busy developing a geothermal heat source."
"It should be up and running by the end of 2023. We want to use this to reduce our fossil fuel consumption even further. We use a Shell byproduct for our plants' CO2 requirements, and we grow and pack our products at a single location. That cuts down on unnecessary trips. We're both On the way to PlanetProof label, and GlobalGAP certificated too," he concludes.