Many horticultural crops have unexpected properties. The ingredients of laurel, curry, bromeliad and basil help in the fight against diabetes. Four growers of these crops have joined forces and are working on a healthy and tasty tea, says Charl Goossens from laurel nursery Gova in Nispen. "You learn to look at your crop in a different way."
How did the collaboration come about?
“We are part of the ‘Plant Content Substances’ group of entrepreneurs in the Biobased Greenport program. We had a very good rapport with a number of other growers. We then started to look for shared values as a basis for further cooperation. And then it turned out that our crops help against diabetes. We have asked a fourth grower to join us and we have written a proposal for BioBoost for the development of a healthy tea.”
Which crops are involved?
“We grow laurel ourselves, Westland Peppers has the curry plants, Corn. Bak has the bromeliads and De Kruidenaer grows the basil. We first did literature research to see if those crops actually help against diabetes. That appears to be the case. We are now doing practical research with a model organism. The DNA of such an organism can be compared to that of a human being."
Does the tea become a medicine?
“If you call a product a medicine, you will have to deal with complicated laws and regulations. The question is, therefore, to what extent we claim medicinal effects. We were present at the Dutch Design Week last year with a laurel oil and it turned out that consumers and retailers are not necessarily waiting for a claim: the story is much more important.”
What else needs to be investigated?
"Quite a lot. For example, the best tea concentration for an anti-diabetes effect, the simmer time of the tea, the best part of the plants to use, pre-processing and the best drying method. Many of those steps we take together with a professor from WUR (Wageningen University & Research) and with the research company 't Akker."
What does the schedule look like?
“We hope to bring the tea to market by the end of this year. We still have to take many steps to achieve this, for example: what is the best way to treat the products, and how do you market the intrinsic value of a product, meaning the ingredients? For this, we work together with, among others, the WUR."
And then onto the market.
“An important question before that, of course, is: how do you make a tasty tea? We have engaged a tea expert for this. That is very educational. A tea expert looks at your product very differently. For example, he sees a twig and says: that is good for the taste. That way we never looked at our product. That is also the result of cross-fertilization with the other growers."
Source: Greenport West-Holland