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These Dutch Alstroemerias Can Teach the World About Sustainable Floriculture

Purchasing Tesselaar Alstroemerias is like a statement to do good, acknowledging the importance of being conscious of your surroundings and the most sustainable production of cut flowers possible today. Tesselaar Alstroemeria is 'The Right Choice'.

By: THURSD. | 31-01-2024 | 5 min read
Cut Flowers Sustainability
Sustainable Floriculture at Tesselaar Alstroemeria

The Netherlands might be a small country, but it's the largest exporter of cut flowers in the world. The Netherlands exports over $4 billion in cut flowers every year, making it the world's largest exporter of flowers (52%) before Columbia, (15%), Ecuador(9%), and Kenya (7%). What the Netherlands makes such a David of the global flower industry, is partly related to Holland being pretty crowded.

Karolien Tesselaar from Tesselaar Alstroemeria:

"Our land is quite expensive and labor is expensive, so we have to be more efficient than others to compete. And that competition drives innovation and technology."

Tesselaar Alstroemerias Are Known for their Durability, Versatility, and Sustainability

Tesselaar Alstroemeria is an example of sustainable, innovative agriculture. Tesselaar Alstroemerias are known for their durability and versatility. Alstroemerias are grown all year round in all kinds of colors, with fifteen varieties in various grades. This way they can supply all parts of the market, from customization to wholesale, florist, and retail.

 

Quote Karolien Tesselaar

 

Since 1989, Tesselaar has been using the latest technologies to heat its greenhouses and illuminate the crops. The plants grow in the open ground; soil that is well cared for, so that the alstros receive the best possible nutrition. Here too, this grower is moving towards natural products instead of artificial fertilizers, etc. Almost no pesticides are used and the farm controls its crops in a way that a mixture of qualities is produced so that every flower grade finds its purpose. The greenhouse has a special roof to conserve heat as well as LED lights, which means the plants can keep growing through the night. Tests are being done with various coatings to better retain heat and get better light so that the plant grows more beautifully.

Precision Farming at Tesselaar

All of this means the team at Tesselaar can produce higher yields of Alstroemerias, in less space, using fewer resources. Karolien Tesselaar:

"Our greenhouses cover an area of 10 hectares, and we produce millions of Alstroemerias a year."

The people at Tesselaar Alstroemeria have extensive knowledge and experience in growing these flowers. For almost 35 years they have been dedicated to producing the finest Alstroemerias, being a front-runner in sustainability initiatives from the start. Karolien:

"The idea is we can steer everything very precisely. We use all the new techniques and all the innovations with the minimum impact on the environment."

 

Karolien Tesselaar
Karolien Tesselaar

 

Tesselaar Alstroemeria was one of the nominees for the Greenovation Award in 2023. The efforts in the field of sustainability in particular received appreciation from the jury.

"We can almost grow the alstroemeria organically. That is also a new point on the horizon for us: becoming organic. We continue to keep our eyes open for new ways to make our company more sustainable. Whatever happens. Sustainability is our belief."

Sustainability is Our Belief

The company has already taken many steps at this point. Such as the use of flower covers made of recycled material and the use of circular raw materials. The company also supplies residual heat to a neighboring peony grower in the winter.

"So, it’s crucial the innovative agriculture techniques being used in countries like the Netherlands are scaled up and rolled out worldwide. We just need to commit resources in the short-term for future gain."

CO2-free production is the higher goal. They use a computer application to calculate their carbon footprint per stem. They find the footprint a more transparent and fairer system for expressing the environmental impact of their product than a certificate. Karolien:

"Sometimes sustainable solutions cost a bit more in the short-term, but in the long-term they should be more effective and that’s actually what we are seeing. You need to have the guts to invest in those kinds of things for the long-term."

 

4 Concepts Special Lux Elegance Nature
The 4 ranges of Tesselaar Alstroemeria

 

Not Just a Production Company That Makes Flowers

Karolien's husband Rick visits regularly lots of other growers in the Netherlands, and abroad to look for new techniques and innovations in growing. Rick wants to supply the most beautiful flowers and at the same time be of importance to society as well. He explains this is very important to him and his wife, otherwise they would just be a production company that makes flowers. Rick Tesselaar:

"There's more in the world than that. Not only the professionalization of the organization is important, but we also have a director, a cultivation manager, even an HR manager, a back office coordinator, and sales. This enables us to do more, for example, commit to a foundation that contributes to our surroundings, like offering a place to people who are distanced from the labor market in the area around the greenhouses."

The production process of the alstroemeria is mainly done by humans. At Tesselaar they do their utmost best to make sure employees feel at home in their company. Their philosophy is that only together with everyone at the greenhouses they can ensure a beautiful product. Training is an important part of this but also organizing fun activities together.

 

Rick and Karolien Tesselaar
Karolien and Rick Tesselaar

 

Karolien:

"Making beautiful flowers without a negative impact on the planet, where the people who work on it feel at home and enjoy their work. That is so important to us. People can make careers, and grow within the company: from picker/processor to team leader on the picking team or at the bunching machine. Our manager has been with us for over 11 years and has made impressive career steps. We are so proud of him!"

Tesselaar Alstroemeria - the Right Choice

In addition, Karolien thinks it is very important to be in contact with various parties in the sector: what is going on worldwide, what should they respond to as a grower, and, above all, how can they work together to ensure that the flowers that are produced with care will make the end customers happy! In the end, they are not just flower growers, they want to make an impact in the world, make their surroundings better, and put a smile on the face of the people who buy their flowers. 

Purchasing Tesselaar Alstroemerias is like a statement to do good, acknowledging the importance of being conscious of your surroundings and the most sustainable production of cut flowers possible today. Tesselaar Alstroemeria is The Right Choice.

 

Recycled plastic flower sleeves of Tesselaar Alstroemeria
The recycled plastic flower sleeves of Tesselaar Alstroemeria

 

 

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FAQ

The Right Choice Sustainability - LED

All alstroemerias grown under full LED. The lights are dimmable LED, so at Tesselaar Alstroemeria, they can use energy efficiently. They also help balance the power grid in the Netherlands by switching on lights when there is too much power on the grid. And supply of electricity back to the grid if necessary (via CHP).
If there is less power available, they can turn the lights down. The flower can handle that imbalance.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Drygears

At the location in Weteringweg, they use 10 Drygears, to activate dehumidification of the air, which improves the humidity (RH), making the plant more active so the plant needs less heat to grow well. 
There are 2 choices here: either you make it warmer in the greenhouse so that the plant is active, or you lower the humidity.
This saves heat and the plant becomes more active, which benefits quality and production.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Lumiforte

A trial with Lumiforte, an anti-reflective coating, which ensures that the sun reflects less on the glass and therefore you get more light and heat in the greenhouse. This saves energy and improves production.
This is a test that must be run for a longer period to properly measure the results.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Parplus

At their location at Blankenhammerweg, Tesselaar Alstroemeria tests with Parplus, a diffuse coating, which ensures that the light is better distributed throughout the greenhouse. Allowing it to penetrate deeper into the crop and the plant to make better use of the sunlight. This increases production per m2 and improves the quality of the plant.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Biota Nutri

A trial with Biota Nutri, meaning using 100% organic fertilizers so they no longer need artificial fertilizer. The plant becomes stronger and more resistant to diseases and pests.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Water Management

Alstroemerias need water for their growth, which is supplied through a rainwater pipe. Any water that may still flow into the ground is collected in drains, these drains end up in the water silo (or simply stated, this is completely reused). The water for the rain pipe comes from our water basin, which is filled with rainwater. This means there is zero discharge into surface water.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Combating Viruses and Pests

Through natural enemies that eat the animal in question, Tesselaar Alstroemeria is also looking hard for other solutions. Use sticky lights, a vacuum cleaner that goes over the crop and sucks up all the insects, use of sticky traps.

The Right Choice Sustainability - Flower Sleeves

The flower sleeves are made of 100% recycled plastic, deliberately not using cardboard, paper or other materials.

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