Combination of greenhouses and tunnels secures efficient strawberry production
By combining indoor and outdoor growing systems, the team with TamBerry Farms strives to grow their strawberries throughout the year in the most efficient way. The company cultivates strawberries on table tops in polytunnels and in a converted pepper glasshouse. All facilities are equipped with designated gutters to support the selected way of growing.
Prolonging the season
“In this region, the outdoor strawberry season lasts approximately 8 months. A glass greenhouse requires a higher investment but prolongs the season and secures a higher yield”, Fredy Sarkis with Growtec explains. Over the last months, he helped Hilco and Josh Tamminga, owners and operators of TamBerry Farms, set up their new berry production facility. Father and son selected their growing systems carefully in order to optimize production at the lowest cost. They converted a 6-hectare pepper greenhouse and added tabletop growing systems in another 5 hectares of polytunnels.
Converting a pepper greenhouse into a strawberry facility is no simple task, but according to the TamBerry team, the team of Growtec was able to work with any idea and make it a reality. The company specializes in technology such as gutter systems, irrigation supplies, and more, and for this project, they supplied a combination of growing systems, plus brackets, rolling gutters, and drip irrigation, to complete the transformation.
Combination of systems
The greenhouse was completed last year, and by the end of April, the team swung the last gutters into place in the tunnels. “We installed a combination of fixed gutters and our 2LEVEL growing system, enabling the team to make the most out of the available cultivation space”, says Freddy Also, their new GT-03 open gutter was installed, designed specifically for the cultivation of strawberries on posts in polytunnels. “The Growtec team made our tight deadline possible with heightened attention to detail and secondary options and solutions. We are commencing our season with a wonderful crop”, Josh and Hilco share.
Freddy assures that the success of hydroponic, greenhouse, and other growers depends on knowledge, experience, and on the best technology and quality hardware available to achieve these ends. Growtec has a presence in the Netherlands for the European market, and Freddy and his team focus on the North-American market, which is convenient since Freddy himself hails from Leamington, Ontario, not far from where most of Canada’s massive indoor horticultural operations are based. In order to help growers, growing knowledge and innovative product design is shared by the Dutch and Canadian colleagues, with an eye on the rapidly expanding markets and old and new challenges for growers.
Grower in mind
“For example, our gutters are developed with the grower in mind and the ever-changing challenges they have to face,” says Robin Dirks of Growtec. “For example, our 2LEVEL growing system is created to use the available space in the greenhouse in the most efficient way, whereas our closed gutters offer an answer to virus pressure in the greenhouse industry. Together with the growers, we look for the growing system that fits their operation best.”
So far, the Growtec portfolio in Canada includes projects for well-known hydroponic greenhouse names such as Great Northern Hydroponics, Double Diamond Acres Limited, and Hacienda North Farms Inc. In the near future, details of the next project with Nature Fresh Farms will be shared. “We do not discriminate,” Freddy adds. “We’re just as excited to bring our CEA ag tech to small growers as it is to the classic indoor megafarm.” He adds how the company aims to bring a pioneering and communal spirit to hydroponic greenhouse growers. “This includes all growers of all sizes and backgrounds, with goals to invest in a more connected, and successful, international greenhouse community that crosses borders while participating in the world market more advantageously.”
It’s an example of the company’s vision: to make greenhouse companies even more competitive in the global CEA market. Freddy says the fact that they’re present in Canada is a great advantage in bringing this vision to life, as they can rely on their Dutch partners while connecting directly with the growers on the floor – or in the greenhouse. “As our Dutch colleagues do in the Netherlands, we contribute to making North American horticulture more competitive worldwide. And, as a fresh young company with 25 years of technological hydroponic experience, it’s a solid bet that we will be an innovative company making our mark in the horticultural industry for a long time.”