The real green cucumbers of Valstar

Valstar has improved it's cucumber production with the focus on sustainability.






Sustainability is nowadays the main trend with many challenges, especially sustainable food production. Valstar’s grower Voorhof has found a way to produce its cucumbers very sustainably. Geothermal energy, solar panels and green CO2 is being used in the greenhouse and they are well on track towards the goal to be completely natural-gas free!

Vitality in Vegetables

With the wide range of fruits and vegetables, Valstar inspires consumers to make healthy choices every day—for both themselves and for the planet. Their customers and consumers must be able to have complete faith in food safety and sustainable production. This is why Valstar is committed to minimise their impact on the environment, positively contributing to society, purchasing sustainably, and minimising food waste.


On The Way to PlanetProof

To guarantee the sustainability of their products, Valstar has made it their goal to primarily purchase products from growers who have the “On the Way to PlanetProof” certification. When fruits and vegetables are marked with this independently awarded certification, it is a signal that they were produced sustainably and are thus better for nature, the environment and the climate.

Growers certified as On The Way to PlanetProof strive to harmonize their way of growing with the carrying capacity of our planet. Obtaining the certification requires growers to meet annually updated standards for energy, water consumption, and waste management. That means among others: limiting energy consumption, using renewable energy, saving and reusing water and preventing emissions of pesticides and fertilisers into groundwater and surface water. A real important requirement for the grower is to use as much biological and mechanical control for diseases, pest and weeds as possible. It restricts the use of pesticides per crop.


A circular greenhouse

One of the certified “On the way to PlanetProof” growers is their very own cucumber nursery. In this 8-hectare greenhouse, everyone – including the owner René Kalter – takes sustainability very seriously. René sees it as his responsibility to “think about what we’re leaving behind for next generations”.

The greenhouse – located in IJsselmuiden, the Netherlands - is heated by geothermal energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions. The grower is building its second geothermal well, which will make it possible to be completely natural-gas free!

At a depth of 2km water with a temperature of 72 degrees Celsius is pumped. This is transferred through a heat exchanger to the greenhouse, so the cucumber plants are warm. The water cools down when following the track in the greenhouse and is pumped back with a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius into the earth. No natural gas needed!

In addition, the greenhouse uses electricity generated by solar panels on the roofs of the barn. To waste as little water as possible, designers implemented a closed-loop water system in the greenhouse, meaning rainwater and the water not absorbed by the plants is collected by the system and re-used for watering the plants. This results in a circular water system and no water is being wasted!


Biological Control

At Voorhof, biological control agents are imported in the greenhouses to control plant diseases, increase plant growth, and provide resistance to environmental stresses. Funny to know is that sometimes gall mosquitos and other insects pop up in the greenhouses. Not because they were imported, but they just find their way in from the outside. And some of them are very useful! That’s what we call profit from biodiversity.

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