Picking fruit at Raf Quirijnen’s Heiken hydroponic strawberry farm -- 6ha of greenhouses, producing 800 mt of strawberries per year. Mostly glass greenhouses with lights for winter, heat for spring/fall, and plastic greenhouses with grass below for summer. Later in the year they do in-ground, but now it’s only a quarter of the production. The root medium is peat and perlite saturated with liquid fertilizer. The composition of the liquid fertilizer varies throughout the year to match plant needs.
This photo was taken in late April when spring volume was about a third of summertime when there is more sunlight. 50% for Belgium, the rest for UK, France, and Scandinavia. Wholesale pricing is about €4/kg, retail about 2x. Belgian strawberries are more expensive than Spain and North Africa in-ground, which are about half price. Belgian hydroponic strawberries compete on the basis of quality, food safety (pesticides), and freshness (local).
- ©2023 George Steinmetz
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