Brenda and Wim Rijlaarsdam
There are four main crops: peonies, chrysanthemums, sunflowers and forsythias; They do these flowers in many types and there are also other products, such as pumpkins, carthamus, hypericum and different types of summer flowers. In total, 130 types are grown on 7.5 hectares, plus two other pieces of land elsewhere in the country. "The forsythias grow badly here," says Brenda, "but we wanted to keep producing this plant. Therefore we bought two pieces of land: one in the region of Rotterdam and one in the region of Nijmegen. There, the soil is different and they do a lot better."
The pionies are sorted and bunched
The best peonies come from the open field
From the beginning of May, the harvest begins until June - the beginning of July. The exact time depends on the weather and is therefore always different. Wim: "The first flowers come from Israel, then from France and after that from the Netherlands. The Netherlands is by far the best country for peonies: nowhere is the climate better than here. That's no secret, as over the last few years, production has increased enormously. There is also a lot grown under glass. Those growers have the advantage that they can deliver earlier, just before the bulk production. But in the last few years, the winters have been quite warm and it is sometimes difficult to deliver a quality product. They need the cold. The most beautiful peonies," laughs Wim, "come from the ground."
Because peonies are a seasonal product, they must be delivered now. "We see that as an advantage, " according to Brenda and Wim. "Precisely because they are only available for a short time, everyone wants them now. That can be seen in the prices: they are not fantastic, but in view of the enormous supply, they are definitely not bad."
In the processing room (left) and the pionies in the cool cell (right)
A look in the flower shed
Sitting still is not for the Rijlaarsdam family. Next to the processing room, there is a flower shop, the 'Flower shed.' There, bouquets are made and sold and from time to time, workshops are held. Wim himself drives to the auction every morning at the crack of dawn in order to bring his own products to the clock and to buy in for his own shop.