The origins of the nursery of Erwin and Heleen Theeuwen date back to 1952, when Erwin’s grandfather still grew every crop imaginable, from asparagus to carrots. In the meantime they have become specialists in tomato cultivation, with quality always being at the forefront.
The nursery of Erwin Theeuwen can rightly be called a family business. Some of the people who have taken part in the business in the past 50 years are his father, three uncles and a cousin. Since 2001 he has run the business together with his wife, Heleen. “In 2008 we had another nursery built, giving us a total tomato-growing area of 6.5 ha. Any larger is not necessary – as far as we are concerned that is the ideal size. We want to avoid becoming a factory, I have no ambition to become a manager, but what I am and always will be is a grower.”
Erwin is really passionate about tomatoes, which is surprising, as he did not even like them when he was younger. He now knows only too well how diverse the taste of tomatoes can be. “On our nursery we don’t necessarily go for the highest yield, but we do want the best-tasting tomatoes.” Proof that this is bearing fruit comes, among other things, from the nursery shop. “We get a lot of people from around here, but sometimes we get customers from Germany who make a special detour to get to us. That is proof positive that we’re doing things right!”
Look at the green parts
Although it is, of course, very satisfying that his own tomatoes stand out so positively, Erwin would like nothing better than to know that tomatoes taste good, anytime, anywhere, even though he realises that we all experience taste differently. “Very sweet does not necessarily mean that everyone will like it. What is also important is that it is a fresh product! How can you tell? When you buy tomatoes, it’s best to look at the green parts and make sure that the tomatoes are firmly attached to the truss. If they don’t come off the truss very easily it’s a sign of freshness!”
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