Lilacs, Ilex and pot plant grower Marcel Groeneveld has been working with the brand new FlowerLine from Jamafa for about three weeks now. This makes this Aalsmeerder the second grower to get started with this new introduction, the FlowerLine. He has been working with the Jamafa Universal grading machine since 2018 and is very satisfied with this addition. “In addition to labor savings, faster processing and more uniformity, this combination brings us so much peace of mind and job satisfaction,” he says. BPnieuws was on location to take a look.
Grower Marcel Groeneveld and Bas Goede of Jamafa in front of the new FlowerLine.
Groeneveld is the seventh generation of the company and mainly grows Lilacs and Ilex, a good combination because the seasons follow each other. The cultivation of Lilacs is his core business, but the season has not yet started – at the moment he is still fully processing Ilex. This will take until the end of December, after which the Ilex, which are now drying in the 0.5 ha greenhouse, will make way for the Lilacs. Part of the greenhouse is also used for the production of pot plants.
The Ilex branches are processed in the period from October to December. The Ilex verticillata, also known as the winter berry, is part of the outdoor cultivation that starts at the beginning of October. Groeneveld has 10,000 shrubs that are harvested every other year in 2 batches. The berry branches (the female shrubs) are cut from the shrubs after which they are taken to the nursery. In the greenhouse, the branches are “scalded” under plastic. Within four weeks, the leaves fall off and only the branches with the berries remain. These are then ready to be processed.
Clockwise, the “scalding process”. At the top left the branches are still under the tarp, then the leaves are shaken off and the branches with berries remain (bottom left).
Processing – Sorting
The Ilex branches, but also those of Lilacs, are processed into bunches in the barn and this process has been fully automated since the beginning of November, from sorting to bunching. “My father used to do the sorting, but because he is getting older, we started looking at a sorting machin. After our first machine needed to be replaced we started looking at a new one. We stumbled upon Jamafa who has a sorting machine that can sort all kinds of flowers with the help of a camera according to stem length and thickness, berry stock/flower volume and length of berry stock/length of the ares. “At first I was quite skeptical, but after seeing the machine at another grower, we opted for the ‘Jamafa Universal grading machine'”.
Groeneveld has been working with this machine since 2018 and is very satisfied. “Firstly, it saves a lot of work, we deliver much more uniform bunches and have therefore no longer received complaints from the auction, to which he supplies most of his flowers, or other customers regarding quality.”
How does sorting work? Groeneveld: “Only 1 person is needed to operate the machine. After the machine has been set to the sorting criteria (we can enter 12 different criteria) that we have in mind, you can start by simply placing the stems in the bin at the beginning of the conveyor. The camera then scans the branch and assigns it to a specific sorting”. See below.
The Ilex is placed in the bins per branch. Right behind the 12 sorting stations.
The camera data.
The branches sorted in the trays. By using a piece of chalk, the preset sorting on the computer can be easily adjusted on the tray.
Processing – FlowerLine
After sorting, the flowers are bunched on Jamafa’s brand new flower line. This flower line, also suitable for processing Lilacs and many other flower types (with both a hard and soft stem), is officially called the FlowerLine and distinguishes itself from other machines by, among other things, its silent processing. Other machines often use a circular saw to cut the flowers, but Jamafa has chosen to work with a combination blade (a circular blade and a counter blade). “This not only results in noiseless cutting of the branches, but also avoids shifting the bunch, which you normally see with a circular saw that becomes dull,” says Bas Goede, Jamafa Sales Manager.
The line works as follows: After the sorted branches are removed from the trays from the grading machine, they are placed in bunches on the FlowerLine, after which they are cut to size and tied. Below the process step by step.
A certain number of branches are combined from the sorting bin.
The bunch is put on the belt. The belt has a slope of 6 degrees, which makes it easier to see the product and follow the lines that indicate the length. By using lines, different product lengths can be processed simultaneously.
The bunch then passes the “rotating scissors” where they are silently cut off.
After the bunch has been cut, it is immediately bound 2 times by a Cyklop binder. “We are not going to invent ourselves what is standard for sale on the market. We’d rather prefer to work together and use it,” says Bas Goede.
The bunch is now ready to be sleeved.
After sleeving, the bunches are put in water, ready to go to the auction.
Groeneveld is the second grower to use this line now. Voorn Roses is the first, see a video below.
More calm and more fun
With the addition of the FlowerLine, Groeneveld has gone from 5 to 3 people in processing. This is a financial benefit, but not the most important one, according to the Aalsmeer grower. “We now have so much more peace of mind and job satisfaction,” he says. “Normally when processing the Ilex, especially in the run-up to Christmas, we have to walk on our toes and pull out all the stops. Now we have no problem making it on time. Besides, we now supply more uniform bunches, the camera in the Universal grading machine is always objective in contrast to the human eye. This results in a product with a high consistent sorting, which in turn contributes to better quality and customer loyalty. With this combination we can also easily adapt the bunches to the wishes of our customer”.
“And better sorting also means a better price per sorting”, Bas Goede adds. “80 percent of the flowers that leave the grower’s premises end up in bouquets. Poor sorting will eventually make the bouquets look more uneven, which will lead to a difference in sales at the florist or other parties that sell bouquets – the consumer will go for the bouquet with the most volume”.
Ahead, the islands where the lilacs grow.
In addition to the processing of Ilex, we also had the opportunity to take a look further into the company. As mentioned, the Lilacs are also processed through the Jamafa grading machine and flower line. Processing is done in the same way, but cultivation is a story in itself and very intensive. Obtaining a lilac flower requires a course of 16 steps and there are currently only 15 growers worldwide (mainly located in the Netherlands) who grow this product. But what makes it such an intensive cultivation? Groeneveld gives a brief explanation. “The Lilacs, some more than 100 years old, are grafted and then grown on 6.5 ha spread over 28 islands in the Westeinderplas in Aalsmeer (which borders directly on his backyard.). The cultivation takes two years.
The Lilacs are brought to the nursery on this boat.
In autumn, the bushes are loosened from the ground and taken by boat to the nursery where they will be outside the greenhouse until the end of December. The empty fields are covered with dredge again in order to maintain the height of the fields. In December, the lilacs are brought in in small batches and the temperature is brought to 36 degrees. This allows the flowers to loosen. After harvesting, the flowers are processed and prepared for auction. The bare bushes are pruned and returned to the fields on the Westeinderplas (for a detailed explanation of the entire process, see the website).
The Lilacs are outside the greenhouse.
Besides the Lilacs and Ilex, Groeneveld also grows potted plants under light. “We have a CHP and we use the heat for the greenhouse and we can use the light nicely for the potted plants. It is mainly my father’s hobby who in turn sells them to retailers across the country. ”
The potted plants
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