Frans, Ralph and Bärbel Steegh could not conceive of a greater crop to grow than a tomato crop. With all sorts of new types emerging, their passion for the product has only increased. Together, the three of them are always looking for something different.
Ralph joined the business in 2001 and then, in 2005, he started up on his own in Wellerlooi. Frans and Bärbel still run the ‘old’ nursery nearby but both nurseries are united in their business philosophy, Ralph relates. “Not getting too big, but trying above all to stand out from the crowd! I am in daily contact with my father to discuss the crop. But my mother also always has her feelers out. For instance, when she is in a supermarket she takes a great interest in anything new on the shelves and we can be inspired by that.”
Sampling the product
That striving to be different also comes out in the type of tomatoes Ralph grows. As well as tasty cocktail tomatoes he grows the so-called ‘santa type’ at one location; these are small tomatoes with a unique, pepper-like shape. “We are the only ones in the Netherlands to grow this tomato. It does need some extra attention but the taste certainly makes it worthwhile. These tomatoes are so delicious that I have to warn the pickers now and then not to sample too many of them, haha.”
What’s special about the nursery also is the sustainable growing method. Ralph now even wants to try and keep all pests and diseases under control throughout the entire cropping period by using only biological control, whereby harmful pests are totally controlled with natural enemies. “We want to try and supply a product that can be guaranteed for 100% not to contain any pest control residues. A superb product with a superb taste, that’s what we‘re going for!”
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