German family company switches from tomato cultivation to hydroponic lettuce, aided by Limex raft washing machine

Leo Berghs-Trienekens is a household name in and around the German town of Straelen. The family company has a greenhouse where mostly tomatoes were grown until recently. Last winter, skyrocketing energy prices made the grower decide to stop heating. The sun-grown tomatoes were harvested, the greenhouse was emptied, and now half of the acreage has leafy greens and whole head lettuce growing in ponds.

Experience in lettuce cultivation, ready market

Because Leo already had experience growing lettuce in the open field, this was a logical step for him. The market is also ready, which the Landgard membership definitely contributes to. So now lettuce is not just growing outside at Leo Berghs-Trienekens, but also in the greenhouses, on rafts supplied by Dry Hydroponics. That company advised to ask Limex about washing machines for the floats.

Family company with direct communication

The fact that Limex is a family company, just like Leo Berghs-Trienekens, is something the grower really appreciated. “The direct communication is great,” Leo says. “You can just walk into the factory, which is close by here, and we are on first-name terms.” Before making the purchase, Leo was able to take a good look at the machines, and to test them. “That gives a lot of confidence before buying.”

Raft washing machine integrated into harvesting machine

Together with the grower, Limex looked for a solution that would fit into the new system. That resulted in a washing line that is fully integrated into the harvesting line, ensuring organic and microbiological cleaning. Algae are also removed by the washing machine, which adds hydroperoxide disinfection into the mix as well.

The rafts washer can also wash crates and is low-maintenance

What’s more, the machine can easily be applied by the grower to wash crates. “And as long as you keep the machine clean, you really don’t have any maintenance,” Leo says. He is enthusiastic about both the new washing machine and about hydroponic lettuce cultivation – it’s possible that lettuce will be growing in the whole greenhouse at some point. That’s a project for the next generation: Leo’s son is waiting to take over the company in the future.

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