With Levarht as its largest customer by far, Tuinderij Boender never had to worry too much about sales. After the exporter’s sudden bankruptcy, the outdoor greenhouse grower had to change course. “Levarht was a very loyal buyer with customers all over the world, so we did have to shift gears prior to the season. But we took it as an opportunity and that market approach paid off, as we gained some great customers in various segments,” Mart Boender says.
The grower grows Lollo Bionda, Lollo Rossa and red and green oak leaf lettuce on an area of about 10 hectares around Piershil. The season traditionally starts around 5 May and last year Mart closed the season in the second week of November. “Lettuce cultivation is in our genes. If there is demand, we can also grow romaine lettuce, batavia lettuce, frisee or salanova types. We can respond quickly to that. We are not yet PlanetProof-certified, but if there is a demand, we would like to enter the certification process. We are, however, both GlobalGAP and GRASP certified.”
The grower firmly believes in the future of outdoor lettuce. “We have hard lettuces, which have a longer shelf life. These should be able to find their way into the many export markets served by Dutch exporters, but we also have a nice fresh homegrown product to offer supermarkets, cutting plants and the catering industry in the summer. I believe we are on the right track with our healthy products. Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, people are more conscious about their health. I am convinced that there will continue to be a strong demand for our healthy vegetables.”