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Four questions to…Sweet Palermo grower Marcel van Kester

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Sweet Palermo is on Marcel van Kester’s menu every day. Four questions to this enthusiastic grower from Poeldijk in the Westland region, which forms the heart of vegetable production in the Netherlands.

Why are you so proud of being a Sweet Palermo grower?

“I’m mad about peppers and especially pointed peppers – and Sweet Palermo is simply the tastiest one of them all. For me, flavour comes first which is why I’m so committed to growing this product. It’s my favourite.”

Why should people try this unique pepper?

“Sweet Palermo is sweeter and crunchier than any other pepper. I’ve heard lots of people say: ‘Once you’ve tasted it, you won’t settle for anything else’. It’s packed with nutrients of course. I’m a strong advocate for healthy eating. I regularly take home a whole box of them for my daughter to share with her classmates at school. I’ve only ever received positive feedback, even during the ‘Visit the Greenhouse’ weekend when the general public could take a look inside Dutch greenhouses. People were queuing up for our pepper soup.”

What’s your favourite way of eating Sweet Palermo?

“To be honest it’s delicious however you eat it – whether in a salad, as a snack, as the basis for a sauce, roasted or barbecued. Sweet Palermo is on the menu for us at home all season long. I’ve got three children, aged 2, 4 and 6, and they all love it. If we put a bowl of Sweet Palermo on the table as a snack I have to be quick, because the dish is empty before you know it!”

What do you want people to know about how it’s grown?

“That it’s produced in a very eco-friendly manner. At our company, we reuse all the water, for example, to reduce waste. And we use all kinds of insects to protect our crops against pests. Thrips, a small insect measuring about 2 millimetres across, is the biggest threat. We use predatory mites to eat the larvae and eggs, and bugs called heteroptera to tackle adult thrips. This means that we hardly have to use any crop protection agents.”

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