Story of Noordhuys Tomatoes in the Netherlands

“Rugose Defense improves the reliability of our turnover”

It was the solution that tomato growers all over the world had been hoping for: the introduction of tomato varieties with high resistance (HR) against the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV). This is one way in which Rijk Zwaan is contributing to the ‘fresh foundation’ for companies such as Noordhuys Tomatoes in the Netherlands. “It improves the reliability of both our customer supply and our turnover,” says Theo van Noord. Over the past seven years, the virus has caused significant destruction worldwide. Rijk Zwaan is presenting the new HR tomato varieties at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, in line with the company’s theme of ‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’.

Big impact of ToBRFV

Van Noord: “Our company Noordhuys Tomatoes grows various types of tomatoes for Dutch, UK and German retail customers on a total of 39 hectares across four locations. We had issues with ToBRFV, which led to approximately 20% loss of production and lots of extra costs. We introduced stricter hygiene protocols throughout the entire company which we enforce rigidly. Besides that, we clean more thoroughly during crop changeovers and we did several extra plantings during the season. This had a very big impact on our organisation. It’s important to ensure that everyone adheres to the tighter hygiene rules, but it’s certainly not fun.”

Rugose Defense improves the dependability of our turnover

Freshly Forward with Rugose Defense

How will Rugose Defense help Noordhuys Tomatoes to move ‘freshly forward’? “Firstly, it improves the reliability of both our customer supply and our turnover. Reliable turnover is essential for a growing company. Moreover, a healthy crop is easier to manage and more rewarding to work with. Tending to diseased plants is demotivating. We’ve been trialling Lucioso RZ, a cocktail tomato on the vine, as a replacement for Brioso RZ. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks very promising. Its quality and production are comparable, plus the variety has more resistance against ToBRFV. The partnership with Rijk Zwaan is extremely important for us; we gain insights by conducting practical trials together. And we’re both focused on continuous improvement,” states Van Noord.

ToBRFV resistance

ToBRFV is the top priority

Rick van Meurs, Project Leader Tomato at Rijk Zwaan, wholeheartedly agrees that collaboration is important. “Seven years ago we saw how much impact the highly infectious ToBRFV could have on our customers, so we immediately made ToBRFV resistance our top priority. The fact that we can now present these highly resistant tomato varieties is all down to teamwork. Many colleagues were involved in the process of searching for resistant plants, identifying the relevant genes, crossing them into existing tomato lines and validating the results. And more than 120 growers from all over the world participated in real-life trials of the tomato varieties. That’s another great example of teamwork.”

Watch this video about Rugose Defense.

Tomato varieties with Rugose Defense for every region

Rijk Zwaan is now introducing the first tomato varieties with the Rugose Defense label, according to Van Meurs: “We currently have highly resistant cocktail tomatoes on the vine, cherry tomatoes on the vine, intermediate and snack tomatoes for high-tech cultivation, and other types and varieties will follow soon, including for protected crops. It’s very rewarding that – thanks to all that teamwork – we can contribute to the ‘fresh foundation’ for customers worldwide.”

Defense label: the best resistances for resilient crops

Rugose Defense carries Rijk Zwaan’s Defense label. This label comprises a number of different lines of varieties that have key resistances against serious plant diseases. Another line displaying this label is Delhi Defense, for instance, which offers cucumbers and courgette growers an effective solution to the New Delhi virus.

Join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward

‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’ – this is the theme Rijk Zwaan has chosen to encapsulate its roadmap for tackling today’s challenges, together with its partners. We will be presenting robust and resilient solutions as well as inspiring innovations at Fruit Logistica 2023 (Hall 1.2, D-13). You are also welcome to visit the Rijk Zwaan Retail Center in Berlin – the company’s very own experience and research facility.

Join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward! Read more inspiring stories on this page.