Compliment is a passionate horticultural company.
Since 2002, located in Zeeland, between the Meijerij, the Land of Maas and Waal, the Land of Cuijk and the Peel.
Here are the many acres of horticultural ground where we cultivate the products for our customers on a modern, progressive way. We cultivate iceberg, fennel radicchio celery and Chinese cabbage for Versland. We grow these products in a light sandy soil. These grounds are continuously scanned so that we can apply our site specific fertilization. We grow our products to high quality standards and requirement. Which is made with and by our customers. It is not only from healthy entrepreneurship we meet these requirement every day. It’s all also in the passion we have for what nature gives us. We still glowing of pride as we see “our” lettuce in stores. That’s what we call “cultivate with passion” !
A dynamic and versatile company
René Verbakel has owned the Compliment company – located in the small town of Zeeland in Brabant – for over thirty years.
‘I started out with my father and brother growing asparagus, leeks, and carrots. Leeks have a rather strong smell. When I met my wife about twenty years ago she gave me an ultimatum: ‘me or the leeks.’ The choice was soon made: time for something new. I took a closer look at the market demand: what’s needed at the moment? That’s where we started, and we’ve grown step by step to where we are today. We still grow carrots, and also Chinese cabbage, celery, radicchio, fennel, iceberg lettuce, pumpkins, and cherries.’
No two minutes the same
All these different products make Compliment a dynamic company.
‘No two minutes are the same,’ says René. ‘That has partly to do with the different growing seasons. I’ll give you some examples. The Chinese cabbage and the iceberg lettuce are planted from May to September and are harvested from May to November. The radicchio and celery are planted two weeks later, and also grow for two weeks longer. The carrots are sown as soon as possible after the winter, and we harvest them in June or July. Of course, the work peak is in the spring and in the summer. Besides sowing and harvesting, we also have to irrigate and maintain our plants. But we also have plenty of indoor activities for the quiet months, the winter months. We have stored winter cabbage indoors, for example. This is cleaned, sorted, and packaged on customer demand. That keeps everything going all year round.’
René employs the plenty of staff to keep the company running.
‘We also work with people with disabilities. We employ a driver with a physical disability, for example, who drives an adapted tractor. We also supervise five or six trainees each year. They come from various study programmes, usually in logistics, horticulture, or mechanics.’
Sustainability and organic growing
Our company pays a great deal of attention to the environment,’ says René.
‘We have the necessary accreditations, including the Milieukeur certificate. We also do our hoeing by machine rather than spraying, and we lay mixed flower verges. The flowers attract useful insects such as ladybirds, which eat the lice. But we also attract bees, which in turn pollinate our cherries.’
The biggest sustainability innovation is expansion with a new plot of land for exclusively organic cultivation. ‘We use this land for all of our products, but without using any crop protection products at all,’ says René. ‘It is certified soil, specially fertilized with organic substances. The first plants are due to be planted next week. This will be an exciting year, but I’m sure it’ll work out. Organic farming is the future, and we’re happy to work with it.’