27 Feb 2021

The promise of growth and opportunity in a new year – A message from our greenhouse commercial team

Every new year presents a unique set of challenges and 2020 proved no different as the safety for our employees, partners and people worldwide was, and still is, our top priority.  Providing healthy vegetables and contributing to world’s food supply became more important than ever. In return, this need offered growth within our greenhouse team to ensure we can continue to share a healthy future.

Greenhouse research location

In 2020, Rijk Zwaan Canada established an office, inventory warehouse and Tomato Demonstration and Trial Facility in Leamington, Ontario, Canada.  The Tomato Demonstration and Trial Facility screens for many different tomato types, including early breeding material to semi-commercial and commercial demonstration areas. Beef, TOV, Cocktail and all specialty tomato segments are begin grown at the demo facility.  In addition, our fruit display area is large enough to accommodate our team for safe distance tastings and post-harvest evaluations.


In order to support our greenhouse growth, we added key customer service positions to manage inventory and shipments to customers in Canada. Tracey Young joined the local team in Leamington as a Logistics Specialist.  Salinas office based Michelle Glidden and Reshel Barker support as additional customer service in the greenhouse business.

New Greenhouse Manager and Grower, Nick Preyde, replacing Margaret Ingratta last year, is running the daily operations at the Leamington Tomato Trial Facility.  Assisting him with the greenhouse work is Sarah Nichols who handles plant registration, & collection of data.  Supporting the greenhouse team, new Product Development representative, Sarah Despres, will join the North American team after training in Holland.

The Greenhouse team of Crop Specialists and Sales include: Marleen van der Torre (tomatoes, Ontario), John DeVries (cucumbers, Ontario), Brad Breedveld (peppers, British Columbia), Harry Burman (lettuce, California) and Max Saad (sales, Ontario).

We continue to develop our greenhouse team with two career positions in the Leamington, Ontario area:  Product Development Specialist and Technical Sales.


Strong in the cucumber market globally and especially in North America with Long English, slicers, mini and cocktail types, Rijk Zwaan continues to make room for improvement. Meeting with North American greenhouse cucumber growers and marketing companies, Rijk Zwaan members from Canada, the US and Holland recently discussed latest research into consumer purchasing trends and shelf life characteristics.  Learn more

In peppers, Rijk Zwaan has sweet blocky types in all colors, and also the specialty pepper types such as Dulce Italiano types named “Palermo”. Palermo peppers offer great taste and four colors in yellow, red, orange and chocolate.  A typical Italian elongated shaped fruit, Palermo peppers are commonly known in Europe and now gradually becoming known in North America.

In the tomato market, Rijk Zwaan is active in the large beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, small tasty cocktail types, cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes of all colors. Our new green grape tomato was a recent successful addition to the medley tomato pack offering more color and flavor to the consumer.

Rijk Zwaan is a market leader in the outdoor leafy green segment including all lettuce types, spinach, arugula and baby leaf types.  The hydroponic market continues to gain momentum in North America with the successful Salanova® and multi-leaf lettuces, which are grown for whole head and fresh cut segments.  These hydro-types have created diversity in leaf color, texture and shape for consumers.

While COVID-19 restrictions have certainly affected the way our customers operate their businesses and the way we connect with them, we continue to provide support for existing varieties and introduce new varieties for the market in creative and effective ways.