The story of Frank
“The right varieties are crucial to meet market demands”
Grower Frank de Koning from the Dutch town of Brielle likes a challenge, which is why he has been focused on producing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines organically since 2000. The right varieties are crucial for him in order to meet the market demands.
“I used to work with traditional crop production methods, but that didn’t give me enough job satisfaction. From a technical perspective, organic production is much more challenging. Rather than using chemicals and artificial fertiliser, we use compost, manure and natural enemies against pests. The open-field crops require substantial crop rotation, which is why we grow a wide diversity of fruiting vegetables in many different shapes and sizes – such as wild tomatoes, traditional cucumbers and striped aubergines. I have three facilities, amounting to 8.5 hectares in total. In fact, we’ve been a biodynamic farm for the past four years.”
Strong, resilient plants
“It’s even more important for us to choose the right variety than it is for traditional growers. Flavour is always more important than production, because organic consumers consciously opt for healthy and tasty food. And because they are also more likely to choose unusual shapes and colours, we have a varied product range. Besides that, we look for robust plants that are resilient to disease.
Rijk Zwaan’s Kylie RZ is an aubergine with an excellent flavour and quality. The strong green parts ensure that the aubergine remains fresh long after harvesting. It’s an open crop which is very easy to work with and productive too. Angela RZ is a striped aubergine that has both a distinctive colour and a distinctive taste. It’s a graffiti aubergine with slightly firmer flesh which means that it absorbs less oil during cooking.”
“Rijk Zwaan is one of the few seed producers that strongly supports organic varieties – thankfully, because we can’t survive without them. At Rijk Zwaan, they take a problem-solving approach to flavour, resilience and resistances. Their varieties are well aligned with the demands of the market, which is continuing to show steady growth.”