Leo Quik, Quik's farm:

Expanding cut Chrysanthemum market in Canada

"Over the last 10 years we have striven to expand the cut Chrysanthemum market in Canada” says grower Leo Quik from Quik's Farm Ltd. In 1989 Leo Quik’s father, Harry Quik, immigrated from the Netherlands to grow potatoes and cedar hedging trees. Already in 1990, with the help from some friends, he started growing cut flowers in several small cold frame greenhouses. Due to an increasing demand from the Canadian market for high quality products, the company continued to expand and currently operates in a glass greenhouse covering 8 acres of fertile soil in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in Canada.

Quik's Farm


Leo, Harry and Andries Quik. Source: www.theprogress.com

Quik’s Farm is located in Chilliwack B.C., Canada and was established by Harry and Lydie Quik who started cultivating cut flowers in 1990. At that time the main crops grown were Snapdragons and Freesia along with Chrysanthemums in the Fall. In order to fill the increasing demand for their cut flowers, but also to experiment with different crops, they built their first one-acre sized glass greenhouse in 1995.

After continuing to see potential in Snapdragons and Chrysanthemums, a substantial greenhouse expansion took place in 2004. This building was a much more technically advanced 2 acre size facility for the intense production of these crops. At that time, Andries Quik, another one of Harry’s son’s joined the company to further discover and develop the Chyrsanthemum market in Canada.

In 2010 they expanded their greenhouse with another 2 acres and replaced the snapdragons with more spray and disbud chrysanthemum. “Over the last 10 years, we noticed an increasing demand for good quality chrysanthemum varieties which stood out from the rest”, says Leo, who joined the company in 2010. In 2013, they once again expanded their greenhouse with two acres which are only used for chrysanthemum cultivation. The current facility is a 6 acre state of the art chrysanthemum greenhouse with an additional 2 acres geared towards the production of Alstroemeria and Oriental Lily.

Recently, they also expanded their open field cultivation; they acquired a 13 acre sized parcel of land for sunflower and hybrid lilies cultivation. At this location they also established a pack house for processing of the open field flowers. This facility is also used for wholesale production of mixed bouquets which are sold to supermarket chains across Western Canada.

Modern greenhouses



Every year, they try to add new technologies from the Netherlands in their greenhouses. "By doing so we are able to produce more efficiently and are able to deliver high quality flowers." Especially the newly built spaces in which the chrysanthemums are being cultivated, are equipped with more advanced technologies. For example, two spray robots supplied by Robur Holland are being used in the greenhouse and the flowers are processed with a couple of Bercomex flower processing lines. Last year they acquired a plant robot from ISO Group for the automatic transplanting of chrysanthemum plants. “I think we are the first in North America to use a plant robot. This saves us much manual labor”. Besides that, the rooting takes place on rolling benches. Every few weeks they discuss the use of fertilizers and the greenhouse environment with growing consultants from the Netherlands.

The temperature in the greenhouse needs to be around 19°C. To maintain this temperature, two Decker Brand wood pellet boilers are used as back up in the winter months, but also for production of CO2 and steaming of the soil. They also have two Crone natural gas boilers on hand.

Success

Over the last 10 years, the Quik's Farm has continued to expand. So, what is the secret of their success? According to Leo, this family business distinguishes itself from the other growers with their broad assortment and their high quality products. "The competition from Colombia is fierce, but we are able to distinguish ourselves by producing different varieties with a strong focus on quality."

Besides that, they do not rely on the auction alone to do their selling.. “We do not want to rely completely on the open market, so we also sell to Canadian retailers, wholesalers, florists, and bouquet designers.” In order to reduce the risks, they utilize pre-booking programs and standing order contracts with their broad customer base. “We are able to sell roughly 50% to 60% of our flowers in this way”

Future

When looking to the future, Quik sees lots of opportunities for Quik’s farm. They will keep investigating new techniques and technologies to work more efficient and to reduce the production costs. Besides that, they are evaluating the possibilities to use CHP. Moreover, they are planning to broaden their assortment with a new crop for the niche market. “At the moment, we are experimenting with a new ornamental crop. If the results are positive, we hope to slowly introduce it to the market this year and then begin intense cultivation next year”

For more information
Quik’s Farm Ltd
Leo Quik
Email: Leo@quikfarm.ca
www.quikfarm.ca

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