Hilde and Arnold Jansen of Druivenkwekerij Tuinzight in Midden-Delfland are going to say goodbye to their beloved garden. They are doing so with conviction and nostalgia. We spoke with Hilde.
What stands out in the first few minutes of the conversation is their love of nature. Working biodynamically in their grape greenhouses has stolen their hearts. They have been market gardeners for 43 years now and took a number of steps before opting for this cultivation method.
They both originally came from conventional horticulture. Their 'horticultural path' led them via grape growing, outdoor pepper and lettuce growing, pepper growing in plastic containers, rock wool, and drifting sand back to grape growing.
Hilde and Arnold
Dry Wadden Sea
An old grape greenhouse and several Westland grape varieties were taken from Arnold's father's horticulture business to the current location in Den Hoorn in 1981. After the decision was made to switch to growing grapes, these grapevines were propagated and are still being cultivated today. "You can easily rejuvenate these old trees by pruning them back rigorously. The new shoots are actually the new trees. This also says something about how we grow. We want no waste, or at least as little as possible. And do you know what is so beautiful? We give the prunings and the leaves back to the soil. This is so good for the soil. When we first moved here, the soil looked like the dried-up Wadden Sea: hard, stiff, and cloddy. Now we see lots of worms and life, and the soil is loose. This is a beautiful thing to see. Humus is the best fertilizer you can give the soil," Hilde tells us enthusiastically.
Growing grapes is a profession in itself. It is challenging and intensive. Arnold and Hilde have worked hard. Their sales season runs from the third week of August to mid-November. Thanks to their PR activities, sales are good. In addition to their television appearances, they organized all sorts of things to get attention for their business: regional markets, boat trips, guided tours, and so on. Hilde: "I think I can say that we have become a household name in the region." In the sales season, they drove to Amsterdam on Sundays to sell grapes there.
Arnold and Hilde with their grandchildren in the greenhouse
And now, their business is on sale via WLTM. They are not stopping yet. Definitely not. This year, and probably next year, they will continue to sell their grapes in the way their customers are used to. The crunch season is just around the corner, and preparations are being made for it. Hilde: "We have no successor. So it has to happen. It is good like this. It feels a bit strange because now we're where we've worked so hard for all those years. The company is finished now. A new phase in our lives is beginning. We are going to enjoy ourselves in a different way. At least with our nine grandchildren. And I still have plenty of other hobbies. We're looking forward to it."
The company consists of 6,500 m2, of which grapes are grown on 3,500 m2. It runs entirely on solar energy, thanks to 96 solar panels. They built the house themselves in 1981.
Peter van der Knaap
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