Twenty years of pleasure growing radishes
Mehmet Yilmaz’s nursery is located in the middle of the Westland region, in Naaldwijk.
Mehmet, who comes from a Turkish market gardening family, specializes in growing radishes. ‘I started here around 1995 and I still enjoy the work. I keep myself busy and get plenty of exercise, and I like being self-employed. It’s also nice that my brothers are all in the same sector, each at a different location. We see each other every week and always exchange information. I’m the only one of the brothers who has expanded with new products. Besides radishes, I now also grow courgettes and aubergines.
Two large greenhouses
Mehmet Yilmaz has a total of approximately 6.5 hectares of land with two large greenhouses. One for the radishes, and one for the courgettes and aubergines.
‘The radishes can be sown all year round,’ says Mehmet. ‘The sowing density and the harvest depend on the season. The time to harvest varies from three to ten weeks, after which the new seeds are sown. We have a total of six to seven harvests a year. After harvesting, the radishes are immediately packed in bags, crates, or boxes using a harvesting and packaging machine. The radish is then cooled down as quickly as possible to 2-4 degrees Celsius in the cold store and then it is ready for transport. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.’
The courgette and aubergines are different. ‘These are planted in March and April and, with good care, the plants produce new fruit each time. We start harvesting the courgettes after just two weeks and continue until September. We harvest the aubergines from June to November.’
Mehmet employs a few people to get the work done.
‘Fortunately a lot of work is done with machines these days, which has lightened the workload. But despite that, there’s still more than enough to do. I could never do all this on my own.’
Our products are virtually organic,’ says Mehmet.
‘All you really have to do is keep your soil clean. Once a week I go through the greenhouses to do some hoeing. There isn’t much weed growth in a week, but it soon gets out of hand if you don’t stay on top of it.’