A peek inside the greenhouse of Dutch orchid grower Stolk Flora:

"From the very start, we are focusing on sustainability"

At Dutch orchid nursery Stolk Flora, 3.5 million plants are being produced annually. Since the very beginning, in 2000, sustainability is of great importance. Four years ago, it was time to communicate this approach to the market, under the name Your Natural Orchid. Besides the fact that they achieved the highest score in the MPS A+ certification, they calculate their CO2-footprint for several years and are seeing a decrease in emission. Besides, they put more and more special varieties on the market and develop new concepts. In this article, a peek in their greenhouse in Bleiswijk. 


Manon Greeve and Luke Zuijderwijk.

Sustainability
Owner Jan Stolk has more than a quarter of a century of experience in sustainable growing, and since he started growing orchids he also here prefers biological protectors over chemicals. "We act preventative and control diseases, fungi and pests with natural enemies or biological plant protection products. We also do not use hormones to grow three or more branches. We do have them in our assortment, but these are species that naturally and are growing more branches because of our cultivation produce," says Luke Zuijderwijk, Account Manager at Stolk Flora. 

In addition, they do their utmost best to reduce their impact on the environment. To get a good insight, they have calculated their CO2-footprint over the past three years - in 2017, 2018 and 2019 - and are pleased to see that it is getting smaller. "In our sector, making a so-called sustainability report, which has been the standard for years among large multinationals, is quite unusual. This makes it difficult to compare our consumption with that of other growers, but we are happy to see that we are reducing emissions every year. We also try to remain as transparent as possible in this way."


The plants will be in the greenhouse for about a year. 

Your Natural Orchid
Since its inception, the nursery has been focusing on sustainability, but for a few years now they have been trying to really make this known and have, put the brand name 'Your Natural Orchid' on the market. ''We have focused on sustainability from the beginning. Not because that's trendy, or sells well, but because we think it's important to stay as close to nature as possible and to minimize the impact on the environment. About four years ago it was time to communicate our sustainable business practices to the outside world as well, under the name Your Natural Orchid", says Manon Greeve, also Account Manager.

Stolk Flora's orchids are being shipped all over Europe, and they are receiving more and more requests from Northern Europe. "In these countries, sustainability is becoming increasingly important. This fits in well with the value and image of Your Natural Orchid. It is great to see that we are attracting more and more customers who consciously choose a sustainable concept."


Clockwise: Orchids are waiting to be checked by the camera so they can be placed in the correct category. Then the plants are packed by category and placed on a cart. Click here for the enlarged picture.

More special types
Unlike many growers who have begun to focus on producing large numbers in recent years, Stolk Flora has begun to focus more on growing distinctive Phalaenopsis segments. In their 2 ha greenhouse in Bergschenhoek, where they started in 2000, they focus on new segments within Phalaenopsis. In 2007, they purchased a 4 ha greenhouse in Bleiswijk and the focus there is still on the standard segment. "A year ago we started to switch a bit more to segments that the rest of the market doesn't have. The standard segment is still the main focus, but we see more and more demand and potential for the special varieties."


The new product: Arc

Innovate
In addition to growing new varieties and marketing the brand name Your Natural Orchid, at Stolk Flora they continuously try to innovate with regard to the appearance of the orchid. One of their newest products is the Arc. "The special feature of this Arc is that two branches are stretched over one arch and this arch is no longer visible when the plant is in bloom. In addition, it is economical in terms of transportation: 4 layers go on one cart!"

For more information
Stolk Flora
www.stolkflora.nl


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