A trip to a tulip farm!
Have you ever wondered how tulips are grown? I recently had the chance to visit a tulip farm in nearby Egmond Binnen - and it was pretty cool! I arranged a tour with a group of friends and the lovely Ellen of Bij-Ellen.
As it was January, the warehouses were busy with planting, growing and packaging cut tulips. We got to see the process from start to finish and thanks to Ellen's presentation, we also got to see how the bulbs were grown in the fields and processed in the spring/summer.
The indoor growing all starts with planting the bulbs in trays. No sand or soil is needed, as these bulbs are grown with only fertilised enriched water (which is then recycled). The trays then get put into temperature controlled areas until they grow enough to be put out into the greenhouses.
In the greenhouse, the tulips are picked by hand (bulb and all). It is important to pick the tulip at the right time, which is why this is still done by hand. Even tulips planted at the same time and in the same crate are not always ready at the same time!
The picked tulips are then fed into the coolest monster machine ever! It takes the whole tulip stem with the bulb attached and chops off the bulb.
The monster machine now does its coolest trick. It picks up the tulip from the bottom and dangles it upside down, takes a photo of each tulip and then groups it with tulips of the same length to make a bunch. And all this is done in the blink of an eye! Can you see the tulips dangling upside down?
The monster machine wraps an elastic band around the bottom and ta daaaaaaaa - you have a perfect bunch of lovely tulips!
These tulips are destined for the flower market!
How cool was that?! :)
Are you interested in visiting the tulip greenhouse? You can visit Ellen's website here. She offers tours in English, Dutch and German!
The greenhouse is in Egmond Binnen which is about 15 minutes by car from the centre of Alkmaar.