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"Almost all organic cultivation techniques are being used in our standard cultivation"

Netherlands: GreenBalanZ aiming for 25% organic orchids

Standard cultivation can learn a lot from organic growing methods. This can be seen at GreenBalanZ in Kudelstaart, the Netherlands, on a daily basis. In 2014, GreenBalanZ put the first organic Phalaenopsis orchids on the market after a 5 year search for the right organic growing methods. Vivien Zweekhorst: "The organic growing methods have been so advantageous that we have introduced nearly all of our biological growing methods into our standard crop. We have noticed that the organic treatments work particularly well. The only difference is that we use artificial fertilizer for our standard crop, but that is still recycled. We also want the freedom to be able to use chemicals if that is necessary, but fortunately, that has not been required yet," says Vivien Zweekhorst.

Vivien Zweekhorst.

GreenBalanZ looked into the possibility of organic floriculture at the request of a client. "A Swiss client asked if we could also grow organic orchids. We started the process in 2009 and in 2014, we received the Skal certificate. For Skal, it was primarily an issue of whether organic orchids could come from the laboratory or not."

The organic orchids are identifiable by their wooden sticks.

The organic range from GreenBalanZ generally consists of 5 varieties of Phalaenopsis. "The white is extremely popular, but we also wanted to be able to offer different colors, such as pink, purple, yellow and the 'Red Lip'. " The organic orchid is characterized by the paper bands on the stem and the wooden sticks. "The organic orchid is supplied in a green pot."

Three of the organic variations.

GreenBalanZ now has two product lines: Pure Green and Pure Bio. "Pure Bio has a share of 5%." Vivien expects that the organic share will increase. "We believe in the potential of organic, that's why we want to increase this share to 25% in 2018. This goal is achievable in terms of cultivation, but the suppliers need to be able to do it as well." At GreenBalanZ, they are also questioning whether the market is ready for it. "We are curious how far the organic consumer will go. The organic orchid is more expensive, because among other things, it takes longer to grow."

The organic orchids from GreenBalanZ are currently supplied to clients in Switzerland and Germany. "We have found a good export partner for the German-speaking countries, and it is selling well in the Swiss Co-op. Organic is in the DNA of the Swiss, we are looking for more chains like these. Some retails are more cautious. We still see potential, because retailers can offer plants year-round. Flowers are more seasonal. If a shop owner wants to do it, then I will come around with a sample tray."

A large supply of 'Red Lips'.


Vivien explains how GreenBalanZ grows a total of some 3.5 million plants per year. "We have about 150 types. Within the orchid sector, we are, in relation to range, a broad supplier and in relation to size, average." GreenBalanZ has been busy with orchids since the 1970s. "This is an old business that is a front runner in the sector because of the difference in our range. Leonard van der Weijden, the current owner, often goes to Taiwan with his father to find new varieties. In order to keep their top position, the business decided to make sustainability their 'Unique Selling Point' for the future. GreenBalanZ was one of the first to use a glasshouse without gas and an MPS cetificate. Vivien says that she would like to stimulate other growers to be more sustainable. "We are showing that it is possible."

Sidney knows everything about cultivation. "It is a challenging cultivation and we have no solution for some insects. The thing about organic is that we first saw it as a limitation, now we see it as an opportunity." Learning from experience: "Somehow we came across the idea that freezing the crates would prevent the problem."

For more information:
Vivien Zweekhorst
Mijnsherenweg 38
1433 AS Kudelstaart
0297 320033
[email protected]

Publication date: 12-6-2015
Editor: Lenneke Schot
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