Ortolanda: the Dutch kitchen garden
For more than 40 years, the family business Ortolanda has been a household name in the radish world. The company is no stranger to sustainability. From 2020 onwards, products that come from here will be certified with On the way to PlanetProof. There are 3 locations, one of which is in Borgo Grappa, Italy. Monique Cornelissen is one of the children who is eager to take over the company with her brothers and companion. She explains all about the sustainable cultivation of radishes.
Ortolanda consists of 3 locations: Melderslo, Oude-Tonge and Borgo Grappa, Italy. The ambition is to also have the location in Italy certified for On the way to PlanetProof. Two families run the Europe-renowned company. The Coolbergen family in Oude-Tonge and the Cornelissen family in Melderslo. Together, they have been growing the first radishes since 2002 under the name Ortolanda: Dutch Kitchen Garden. In both families, the next generation is ready to take over the business.
From seed to tuber
Ortolanda grows their radishes in the greenhouse all year round. Per square meter, they sow about 200 to 450 seeds per growing round. To do the sowing process as accurately as possible, a sowing machine is used. With the right amount of water and fertilizer, the seed grows into a radish. In the summer, radish can be fully grown in as little as 3 weeks! Not every variety is suitable for this. Therefore, Ortolanda uses a different variety in the winter. This variety grows in 12 weeks to a delicious, red tuber. Monique: “Nothing changes to the radish itself. One has a longer green, the other can stand the cold better. The taste is not less. Did you know that a radish grows 7-8 times a year in the same place?
Consciously handling the soil and the product to minimize the impact on the environment, that’s sustainable, according to Monique. “We generate our own energy, but also reuse rainwater. In addition, we do climate control. That means that we can adjust the temperature, the amount of light, and CO2 in such a way that the plants can grow optimally. The high greenhouses and large windows provide plenty of ventilation. We also make use of a track and trace system. This allows us to follow the production process of each bag or bunch of radishes.”
TIP: Want to learn to eat radishes? Start in the spring. That’s when the radish is less pungent.
Radish is a versatile vegetable. Its beautiful bright red color and snow-white interior know how to steal the show on the plate. But did you know that the radish leaves are also particularly delicious? “The leaf is often seen as waste. A shame really, because it is incredibly tasty. The taste can be compared to spinach. More and more chefs are appreciating the green. Hopefully, more and more people will try to use the whole radish. That is also a bit more sustainable.