The corona crisis dealt a blow to the fries processing industry and that in turn had consequences for the growers who supply the industry.
This is also the case in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, a region where many potatoes for the production of fries are grown.
The Steijaert family's arable farm in Nieuw-Namen, which is managed by Denis and his three sons Joep, Toon and Dirk, also suffered from this.
Toon Steijaert, potato farmer:
“When the shed was left full of potatoes this spring, we didn't sit down by the 'packs'.”
“We didn't want our potatoes to end up in the feed or digester. That is why we started supplying the consumer with our own freshly cut fries. The Zeeland clay is the perfect soil for growing potato for processing.”
“We have been supplying our potatoes directly to the chip industry for many years. We are at the mercy of erratic market prices and cannot add value ourselves, that had to change.”
“The coronavirus was the final push to make our idea a reality. This is how ZVL Friet was created.”
The Steijaert family's arable farm in Nieuw-Namen
“From the producer directly to the consumer without all the unnecessary links. Grow, store, peel, cut, and package yourself.”
“Better for the farmer and for the person who eventually gets this Zeeland-Flemish regional product on his plate.”
The Steijaert family already had a peeling machine on their farm, so they could get started right away.
A cutting and vacuum machine soon followed to be able to deliver directly to the consumer.
The cut potatoes were delivered to your home and delivery to supermarkets, regional and farm shops followed soon after.
“When the catering industry reopened in the course of the summer, it didn't take long before we could also supply them. We now deliver our daily fresh fries throughout Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, from Hulst to Cadzand.”
“In this way we were able to provide tons of potatoes with added value and save them from animal feed. This creates a revenue model throughout the entire chain. The farmer receives a fair price and appreciation for his product.”
“We are now a few months later and the new harvest is now back in the barn. Enough product to make our delicious fries. We will of course also continue to innovate and experiment with different cultivation methods and varieties in order to get the tastiest Zeeuws-Flemish fries on the plate.