Harvest House supplies year round, sustainably, and in accordance with Dutch quality standards

Harvest House salads growers cultivate with respect for people and the environment

Environment

Growing salads with respect for people and the environment – that is a principle shared by all our growers.

After all, at Harvest House we want to contribute to healthy lives, and that involves more than just growing healthy products. This principle must be carried through to all aspects of the business. Harvest House growers were already employing sustainable practices before it became a hot topic. Our growers keep a critical eye on their operations at all times. They are aware of their role in society and want to set a good example.

Maximum organic

This is why our salads growers work as organically as possible.

Organic crop protection methods are used to protect the plants and fruits against pests and diseases. Organic crop protection involves combating pests and diseases with beneficial organisms (natural enemies) and natural plant protection products. A natural enemy is deployed against every pest and disease. The idea behind use of a natural enemy is that a natural balance is created in the greenhouse.

Energy-efficient cultivation

Our growers do everything they can to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

Not only do they make extremely efficient use of fossil fuels, but they are also constantly looking for new ways to generate energy. One of these is through the use of CHP or geothermal energy, which is done in collaboration with other industries and initiatives. In Terneuzen, for example, one of our growers works with a fertilizer producer, using the residual heat and CO2 in our greenhouses. This kind of clustering is beneficial to the sustainability of entire regions.

CHP

A combined heat and power (CHP) solution enables our growers to make extremely efficient use of energy. A CHP solution generates energy, while any excess electricity produced is fed back into the grid, and the remaining CO2 is absorbed by the plants in the greenhouse.

Geothermal energy

A newer method for energy efficient cultivation involves the use of geothermal energy. This solution involves pumping up hot water from layers deep within the earth which is then utilized to heat the greenhouses. At Harvest House there are already a number of salads growers connected to a geothermal project. There are also several new projects currently under development or planned for the future.

Water management

Water is of great importance for successful tomato cultivation. On an annual basis, per hectare (10,000 m2), an average of 15,000 to 20,000 m3 (15 to 20 million litres) of water are needed for cultivation. It is therefore of great importance for our growers that these processes are implemented as efficiently and sustainably as
possible. Our growers achieve this in various ways:

Rainwater
Rainwater: we collect all available rainwater in basins. These are usually constructed next to the greenhouses and range in size from 1,000 m3 to 3,500 m3 per hectare.

Reverse
Reverse osmosis: in this process groundwater is pumped up and filtered, which is mainly necessary because our groundwater is generally brackish. The clean freshwater is then available for cultivation and is pumped into the rainwater basin. The salt water, or ‘brine’, that remains after the osmosis process is returned to the ground.

Rainwater collection

At the scale of our growers efficient water use is essential. Large water basins located near the greenhouses are used to collect rainwater year round. This water is filtered and then used in the greenhouse.

Water recirculation

The premise behind water recirculation is that the excess water and nutrients that the plants do not use is collected in a tank, purified, and then reused with new plant food. In principle, through use of the recirculation system, our growers do not need to discharge any water that has been used for cultivation.

Milieukeur eco-label

Five Harvest House growers – Royal Pride Holland, Vitensa, van Kester-Weijs, Snack Products and Peppers Unlimited – are in possession of a Milieukeur eco-label certificate. The Milieukeur certification scheme for open-field and protected crops ensures that growers cultivate their certified fruit and vegetable products in a manner compatible with key sustainability objectives, which means they do just that little bit extra. Issues addressed by the certification scheme include:

  • Crop protection (restricting use of pesticides/herbicides and using organic alternatives)
  • Water and nutrients (reduction of water consumption and fertilizers)
  • Hygiene
  • Reduction of emissions (CO2, nitrous oxide)
  • Energy (limiting use, and use of green energy)
  • Light pollution (shading at least 95% of light)
  • Waste (mandatory waste separation)
  • Packaging (PVC prohibited)
  • Working conditions (review of collective labour agreements, working conditions regulations, safety, training)
  • Basic requirements and elective measures