Family business since 1960
Aardbei Extra is the family business from Robert and Liesbeth van de Zanden with over 50 years of experience in the cultivating strawberries and strawberry plants. In the sixties we started with growing various vegetable crops including strawberries, which now is our core business.
Quite quickly we noticed that a successful strawberry cultivation is mostly depended on the quality of the plants. With this insight we decided to focus our business on the propagation of strawberry plants. Currently we see that a lot of growers are looking for varieties which are more productive, less sensitive to diseases and which can decrease the picking costs.
More than ever, we nowadays are brainstorming with our clients about varieties, plant types and doing research on flower buds. Also we more and more have conversations with breeding companies and sales organizations.
It is our biggest challenge to find the right varieties in our assortment and to optimize our cultivation systems to the needs of our customers.
To test the quality of our plants, we created a trial and test field.
A year at Aardbei Extra
In January we do the planning for our new season. Our tractors and machines are getting maintenance and now it is time to take soil samples of our fields.
We also deliver the first batches of strawberry plants to our customers who want to be early on the market with their strawberries.
In February we focus on bringing our fields into top condition.
Our plots are being prepared for planting, like spreading compost, fertilizing and plowing the fields.
The first flowers are being removed from the mother plants to trigger the development of runners.
The mother plants on the table tops are being taken care of.
Green manures like Marigolds and Oats are sowed and the sprinkling systems are being installed.
In the field we remove the foils which have protected the plants over the last few months. The crops will be weeded and the soil between the rows of mother plants cultivated.
The young runners will be spread by hand with the help of our 26 metres wide “flyer”.
The accommodations for the seasonal employees are being prepared.
Our plants receive a final inspection from the Nak Horticulture inspection authority.
In July, the focus is mainly on harvesting, counting, packing and dispatch of our stek plants.
Which find their way to growers who make their own tray plants.
The fresh bare-rooted strawberry plants are lifted early morning around sunset, and be moved quickly to our coldstores where they are stored under perfect condition to keep their moist and vigor.
In the sorting hall, on the carousel, the fresh plants are graded and packed.
During the day, in the field, fresh plants are transplanted on a waiting bed.
Crop care takes place on the fields with frigo and waiting bed plants.
We also welcome customers to visit our plant fields. This is an important point of contact with our relations where we demonstrate the quality of our product.
And… have time for a cup of coffee.
The first preparations are made for harvesting of the strawberry plants, which are dormant by the end of November.
In addition, we are preparing the accommodations again for our seasonal employees.
The strawberry plants are harvested, graded, counted and packed.
In 72 hours the packed plants are force cooled to a temperature just below zero.
After that, the pallets will be moved to our large coldstores for long-term chilling at a safe temperature of -1.5C. In the spring time, the plants are delivered to our customers.