HG Eerenburg is owned by Charlotte Huijsmans (1994) and her brother Niels Huijsmans (1997). By deciding to cultivate strawberries, they are following in the footsteps of both their parents, who set up HG Fruit, and their grandparents.
HG Eerenburg cultivates strawberries at two locations in West Brabant: in Kruisland and in Nispen. In 1966, Niels and Charlotte's grandfather, Geert, started as a fruit farmer in Kruisland. From 1991 onwards, the main crop in Kruisland was apples. However in 2014, the switch was made to strawberries in Kruisland, just as in Nispen, where their Granddad Goossens started cultivating field strawberries in the 1960s.
"When I spent my childhood summers staying with my grandma and granddad in Nispen, I would watch out the window how the strawberries were picked."
- Niels Huijsmans
There is a total of 90 hectares of ground available for cultivating strawberries. In Nispen, there is roughly 60 hectares designated for field strawberries. The remaining 30 hectares is used for cultivation on substrate, divided between the two locations in Kruisland and Nispen.
HG Eerenburg has become even more unique, thanks to their decision to continue investing in field strawberries:
Niels Huijsmans: “Kneeling down the old-fashioned way to pick the strawberries when they're ripe... tradition and nostalgia that come back to you in the flavour.”
HG Eeerenburg also devotes a few hectares at each location to cultivation on racks, in order to respond to the consumer wish to be able to eat Dutch strawberries for as long a season as possible.
Charlotte Huijsmans: “The consumer wants to enjoy the product for an even longer time. Cultivation on racks allows us to extend the season. And we're also always looking for new varieties. Our selection criteria are flavour and shelf life. We use the quiet months to visit other growers and breeders and select the best varieties."
"I felt more and more drawn to the family business. Now I've actually made the move, I love planning for the continuation of our family business in the future too."
- Charlotte Huijsmans
In order to be able to take full responsibility for the running of both business locations in the future, Niels and Charlotte are studying at the Hogere Agrarische School in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Niels chose horticulture and arable farming while Charlotte is learning more about the business side by taking business studies and agribusiness.