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Van der Avoird Trayplant wins Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize 2023

Theme prize goes to Theelers with tea blends made from horticultural waste

Westland, 29 March 2023 - Van der Avoird Trayplant is the winner of the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize 2023, the unique prize for innovative entrepreneurship in the horticulture sector. Using an innovative four layer system, they grow soft fruit (strawberries and raspberries) on one hectare to give the same yield as 240 hectares. Theelers has won the ‘New crops, new applications’ theme prize. They use the waste streams from greenhouse growers to create tea blends in order to contribute to the circularity of the horticulture sector. Minister Piet Adema of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality presented the prize today in Koppert Cress’ fossil-free greenhouse in Westland. 

Peter van der Avoird today accepted the prize from Minister Adema, who thereby said: “High energy prices and geopolitical developments within the horticulture sector mean that there is increasing pressure to supply high quality products while resources are constantly becoming more scarce. The Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize helps to raise the profile of entrepreneurs who have the resilience to cope with this thanks to innovations, creativity and strong entrepreneurship.”

The theme prize was presented to Pieter Boekesteijn of Theelers by Meindert Stolk, the chairman of Greenport West-Holland. The award ceremony was followed by an innovation networking event where various start-ups showed off their new ideas. 

Pioneer Van der Avoird Trayplant 

Van der Avoird Trayplant is a propagator specialising in growing strawberry and raspberry plants. With their innovative four layer system, they grow soft fruit on one hectare to give the same yield as 240 hectares. The surplus hectares are returned to nature in the form of ‘nature buffers’. They capture rainwater in a reservoir three times the size of the nursery which stores enough for an entire year. The company has two sites, in Bavel and Molenschot. According to the professional jury, Van der Avoird Trayplant is a pioneer in research, strong entrepreneurship and system innovations for propagation and production. A multidimensional business with a strong vision and sharp focus, where innovation is in the DNA. One good example is the four layer cultivation at the new site. This site is virtually emission-free, has no carbon emissions and no wastewater. Peter van der Avoird says: “We are very proud that we are able to inspire with our vision: reducing the impact on nature while still meeting the growing need for food. We are working on the food of tomorrow, but thinking about the planet with our farmer’s common sense.” 

The other nominees were rose nursery Porta Nova in Waddinxveen, chrysanthemum grower Beyond Chrysant in Hoek van Holland and Griffioen Wassenaar in Boskoop. 


Tea from waste streams

Start-up Theelers transforms residues and byproducts into a new product for the consumer market: herbal tea blends. Theelers arose from an ambition shared by four growers: Corn Bak Bromelia (Assendelft), De Kruidenaer (Etten-Leur), Westlandpeppers (De Lier) and Gova (Nispen). The jury felt that the way they joined forces is a model for the sector. The four entrepreneurs use one another’s expertise in order to make progress together on innovative product development in greenhouse horticulture. Pieter Boekestijn says: “Theelers stands for collaboration, quality and passion for horticulture. We are proud and honoured that by combining our crops we were able to win the ‘new crops, new applications’ theme prize. It’s now time to move forward with bringing our product to market.”  

The other nominees for the theme prize were Dutch Wasabi in De Lier and Biota Nutri in Roelofarendsveen.