Good day from the Netherlands!
After a high quality hotel breakfast, the fellows ventured north to one of the largest orange pepper growers in all of the Netherlands. After about an hour long bus ride, we could tell we were likely in the right area, with all of the massive greenhouses dotting the landscape. We arrived on site nearly half an hour early, so it was a unanimous decision to go ahead and continue our napping session on the bus. Not long after however, we were greeted by a very brightly dressed Dutch woman with more than enough energy to wake up a bunch of half-asleep college students!
Petra Barendse, one of the owners of Bezoek AgriPort, was kind enough to show us around her business that her and her husband built from the ground up. Their business is made up of three greenhouses, all 10 hectares in size in which two are used for orange pepper production and the other for some very delicious cherry tomatoes (we know; we tried them). During our time walking through one of the greenhouses, it was incredible to see how much was being produced. After all, you can plant a large number of vegetables when you have 25 acres under one climate controlled roof!
During the tour, we were able to take some time to sit down with Petra and have a nice conversation about how her and her husband started the business and how the area where they currently live and do business, became a vegetable production powerhouse. Prior to all of the greenhouses moving into the area, the land actually all sat empty after farmers in the local area were no longer able to make a living. Petra, her family and friends, all came out to the area and decided it would be a great place to increase the size of their operations. Petra’s business along with her friends’ greenhouse production businesses formed what it now known as AgriPort. From an aerial view, this area is very impressive with 25 acre greenhouses spanning across the area. All of the businesses belonging to AgriPort come together to discuss marketing strategies, more efficient methods of production and as a result, succeed as a collective unit.
Later on in the afternoon, we were able to take some time to work on the presentation we will be giving to industry leaders in Washington D.C., early next week. It seems crazy that we are getting down to the final days of our trip here in the Netherlands. As we expected, it has flown by and there have been countless memories made!
We can’t wait to be back on American soil and share our experiences from the trip of a lifetime!