German grower builds 2.5 ha greenhouse facility:

"Before installing LEDs, we also want to see how the energy crisis is dealt with"

In Wollup, Germany, near the border with Poland, tomatoes in all possible varieties have been growing and thriving since 2009. The greenhouse facility in question is managed by Havelia Ltd., a sister company of Werder Frucht Ltd., which markets Havelia's produce exclusively as a contract marketer for EO Mecklenburger Ernte. The company has now decided to expand the site: In addition to the existing 6-hectare production area, 2.5 more hectares are to be built and put into operation by the end of 2024, confirms Managing Director Gerrit van Schoonhoven.

Similar to the existing area, the new building will also be heated sustainably as far as possible. Van Schoonhoven: "We are already supplied with about 60 percent of regenerative heat via a biogas plant and would like to increase this share further. Because of this, we are also very intensively involved with the topic of geothermal energy so that in the future, we can do completely without fossil fuels." Which variant of geothermal energy - either deep or near-surface geothermal - will be implemented in the future is still unclear, he said.

The existing tomato greenhouse in Wollup.

LED systems and solar modules
The Wollup site currently produces tomatoes on five hectares and blackberries on one hectare. Havelia will also focus mainly on tomato cultivation in the new glasshouse, according to van Schoonhoven. "It will be a classic greenhouse, but with the option of using LED systems and solar panels in the future. However, the actual implementation is not planned now in the first construction phase, but first, the basic requirements will be created. We also want to wait and see how the energy crisis is dealt with. The decisive factor will ultimately be how electricity and gas prices develop in the medium term."

Harvesting starts in week 15
Havelia operates a total of three greenhouse operations in the state of Brandenburg and is responsible for its own production of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and blackberries. Despite the more difficult conditions, this year's tomato harvest in Wollup is expected to start on schedule in week 15. "While we will have to work with increased costs, there will be no delay in the harvest window." The extent to which the additional costs can be passed on depends on the market situation at the start of the German tomato harvest, he said. However, Werder Frucht is making efforts to implement the cost increases in the trade, he said. "In the end, however, the market still decides," van Schoonhoven concludes.

Images: Havelia GmbH

For more information:
Gerrit van Schoonhoven
Havelia GmbH / Werder Frucht GmbH
Am Frucht- und Frachthof 6
14550 Groß Kreutz
Tel.: +49 33207 370-515
Fax: +49 33207 370-959  

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