HoogstratenThe Coöperatie Hoogstraten has given the start of the new season, with the traditional sale of the first strawberries. As usual, the eight funds raised 4,000 euros, after which the cooperative doubled the amount and donated it to a noble cause. This year it is the Najmi Foundation for Antwerp Chief Physician Nasser Najmi. Also present: farmer Guy Herrijgers who with his son Sven has a number of specialties, including white strawberry. And soon he will come with a strawberry banana.
The Herrijgers family from Meer (Hoogstraten) has been operating the well-known strawberry company Eirbissemhof in Meer for many years. Especially since son Sven joined the business, they focused more and more on “Speciallekes”. One of the most recent: white strawberry. “To be honest, it was actually kind of a coincidence,” says Jay. “We walk into the greenhouse every day and suddenly there was a plant that only served white strawberries. That gave us the idea to keep growing with that plant and start a new ‘line’. So it’s definitely not a mutation, but it’s probably a whim of Mother Nature. In terms of taste, it’s not Very different from the classic red, unless it is a little sour touch, but then very light. You have to pick them in time, because if you leave them hanging for too long, they will turn pink. Strawberries are especially popular in Japan and Dubai. Moscow was Also a good customer. We also have a tray made specifically for those countries where it is meticulously served. And by the way, another plus: You are not allergic to white strawberries.”
White strawberries are not the only varieties. The Herrijgers family also owns strawberry peach, raspberry strawberry, wild strawberry and soon-to-be banana strawberry. “And the latter really tastes like bananas,” Guy winks. “Often these are very old cultivars that we managed to find somewhere and then keep growing. These particular varieties are more labor intensive. You have to cut them all with scissors because they are so brittle. Strawberries and pineapples are their own innovation. We love doing that. No It expands in width, but in depth.”
start of season
The Coöperatie Hoogstraten, to which Eirbissemhof belongs, gave the go-ahead for the new season yesterday. Traditionally, this means selling the “first” strawberry. Wholesale Sebrechts from Antwerp paid 4,000 euros for it, and the cooperative doubled this amount to 8,000 euros. “This year we chose the Najmi Foundation as our charitable foundation,” says Jan Englen. Antwerp’s chief medical officer Nasser Nadjmi, known from the “Topdokters” series, runs marathons in the Arctic and Antarctic for children with cleft palate. His foundation helps children with cleft lip and cleft palate all over the world. We are impressed by his perseverance. Our farmers know what it means to be 100% committed to something every day.”
Coöperatie Hoogstraten had a good year, with turnover of 302 million euros. The cooperative is also making extra efforts to make it more sustainable. For example, there will be more solar panels, but there will be more emphasis on the carton packaging box and plastic has been completely banned. The tray is 100 percent recyclable. There is also a QR code on each drawer with a link to the farmer. The collaborative website has been completely revamped and a consumer website has been launched where you can find all kinds of facts, recipes and other things.
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