Blog post | 04-15-2021 | Consulate General in Vancouver
Agriculture is the largest sector in Canada with a strong focus on horticulture. To get a feel for Dutch agricultural innovations in British Columbia, the Dutch Consulate General in Vancouver and the Dutch Embassy’s agricultural team spoke with several entrepreneurs.
In this 10-part blog series, we will be highlighting a leading innovative agtech company in British Columbia each week, with an emphasis on its close connection to the Netherlands.
Part 8 (8/10): Houweling’s tomatoes
As a second generation tomato grower, owner Casey Houweling of Houweling tomatoes has spent the past three decades developing the family business and is now considered a leader among producers and farmers around the world. It deserves this role not only because of its expertise as a producer, but also because of its adoption and early testing of (green) technologies.
Testing tomato picking robots
With three sites in North America, including one in Delta, British Columbia, Houweling’s greenhouses are testing tomato-picking robots and using North America’s first cogeneration generator in Camarillo, California; and the reuse of waste heat and carbon dioxide from a nearby power plant in Mona, Utah. “We can produce tomatoes in Utah’s harsh climate year-round with the energy produced by the power plant,” Houweling explains of the power plant. “And the thermal energy that we capture from the plant is used to heat the greenhouse and melt the snow on the roof, which we collect and store for irrigation.”
Together with the Dutch engineering company Kubo, Houweling worked on the design of their patented Ultra Clima greenhouse. This semi-enclosed greenhouse enables profitable growth in hot, dry conditions in an energy efficient manner, minimizes the need for pesticides and the use of fresh water, and improves productivity. “I am one of the first to adopt modern technological solutions because they help me take better care of my tomatoes and the earth. It is the least I can do for my children.
Link with the Netherlands
- Dutch suppliers and partnerships
Much of the equipment, technology, IT and software, but also vegetable seeds used by Houweling come from Dutch suppliers. When it comes to innovation, Houweling’s works closely with Dutch companies such as Kubo Greenhouse Projects and Meteor Systems.
- Growing expertise
Growing expertise and cultivation procedures were learned by adapting Dutch methods and hiring Dutch growers!
- Dutch heritage
Houweling’s Group is a world-renowned family greenhouse with facilities in Camarillo (California), Mona (UT) and Delta (British Columbia). It was founded by Cornelius Houweling and is now run by his son Casey Houweling.
Want to know more about the collaboration between the Dutch and Canadians in British Columbia?
In the brochure, which you can download below, you will find a number of examples of innovative companies in British Columbia, with close ties to the Netherlands. We hope to see many more of these strong collaborations and are keen to support more innovators.
If you would like to know more, please contact the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver at [email protected] or contact the Economic Affairs teams in Ottawa and Toronto.