From snail croquettes to oxheart cabbage grower’
From October to June, grower Adrianus Johannes Mostert cultivates radicchio, butternut squash, and oxheart cabbage for the Dutch market.
Since 2015, Versland Selection has been marketing various vegetables cultivated by A. J. Mostert. After cultivating tub plants, flower bulbs, and rearing snails, he chose to begin professionally cultivating oxheart cabbage, radicchio, and butternut squash. The area will be slowly expanded with other crops. This couple of growers live in the Portuguese village of Maiorca.
The snail croquette
The Mostert family moved to the Portuguese village of Maiorca around 25 years ago.
They first began to cultivate tub plants and flower bulbs, as the season here extends beyond the season back in the Netherlands. Some years ago, Aad and his wife Esther embarked on a whole new journey – heliculture, or snail farming. Although farming was going extremely well, sales in Portugal were lagging. In order to boost sales, they developed the snail croquette for the Dutch market. However, as not all parts of the chain were enthusiastic about the concept, making a living from snail farming was a time-consuming and difficult process.
Oxheart cabbage and butternut squash
The spring of 2015 saw the family blaze a new trail as they began to cultivate oxheart cabbage.
‘Our best friend is now our biggest enemy – the snails absolutely love oxheart cabbage!’, explains Aad. ‘With some amount of effort, however, we’ve managed to control them.’ The family cultivated a cycle of radicchio this year, and part of the garden is now full with butternut squash. The rest was sown with organic fertilizer and is waiting to be planted for the coming winter season.
Check out our cabbages
When to plant which crops
The challenge is to grow the crops you are unable to grow in the Netherlands at that time.’
‘Our planting and sowing activities are carried out in consultation with Versland, so that we can supply the right products when there is demand for them from the Dutch market. That way, we can achieve as good a result as possible without encroaching upon Dutch growers’ territory.’ The plan is to gradually expand the cultivation area.
Learn more about radicchio rosso
At the heart of the local community
Aad and Esther now speak basic Portuguese and are very well integrated in the community.
They even celebrated their wedding both in the Netherlands and Maiorca. ‘We don’t just want to cultivate here; we also want to be part of the community,’ say Aad and Esther.