This was our longest day and earliest start because our first stop was going to the flower auction in Aalsmeer: Flora Holland at 6 am. This company started in a cafe where they would put flowers on the tables in the cafe. The flowers were brought in by a flat boat. Years later they did small auctions and in 1972 they moved to their current location. They have about 65,000 transactions and on a busy day they have 14,000 trolleys going around keeping track of all the information. I found it interesting that the people were standing rather than sitting and this is because it is easier to get on and off the trolley while they are standing. I’ve noticed in America, people will tend to ride around in more of a cart form of transportation so that they are sitting down, rather than standing. We got to see how the auction work and I thought it would be like how it is in America with someone talking really fast and the price goes up. However, the prices actually go down in their auctions. They have this circle and the prices start high and go lower so people will watch to see when it gets lower and try to get the best price that they can. Afterwards we went across the street to Oz Export/ Import where they are one of the bigger flower exporters in the Netherlands. They specialize in cut flowers and they emphasis on Europe. They have a large cold storage where they have a large stock of complete assortment of flowers. They have an orange conveyor belt system that is 2.8 miles long! I thought it was great to visit both places to see how the auction works, how the flowers are stored, how the consumer sees the flowers and buys the flowers, and how the flowers get to the consumer. We then went to another potato farm where they had organic and non- organic potatoes. I liked seeing the differences between the organic and non-organic potatoes and how they are treated differently.
Then we got to stop at a grocery store. I noticed so many differences compared to grocery stores that I’ve been to in America. The stores have more fresh produce and way less frozen foods. The portions were smaller. People shop more frequently, rather than once a week, so that they can buy fresh food. Some things that my peers bought were snacks that are not in America such as other flavored chips like paprika. Other things they bought were things they wanted to eat as a snack like fresh produce because we were up early and did not have lunch. Also things that they ran out of like deodorant or things they wanted to have with them throughout the trip like water. The next stop was lunch at a company restaurant inside of Koppert Cress. This restaurant is Rob & Bob Fair Food where they believe meals should be consistent of 80% plants and 20% animals. I thought this concept was interesting because
they were focused on both health and the environment. Then we took a tour inside of Koppert Cress where they have unique plants and microgreens that have an effect on the senses such as flavor. They use a pink light due to green light getting absorbed and LED lights to save on electricity and sustainability. They make cress, microgreens, taste like other foods such as garlic or broccoli. This is great to use because, for example, there is still that garlic flavor without having garlic breath afterwards. We got to try some of the cress, one of them tasted like broccoli and another gave off a tingling sensation in the mouth. I never had food that small give off such a powerful flavor. The final place that we went to was Keringhuis, which is a public water management information center about flood risk management in the Province of Zuid-Holland and the impressive Maeslant storm surge barrier. Most of the Netherlands is below sea level so there are numerous dams that help keep the water out. We got to go outside to see one of the dams and learn about how it functions and what it takes to open the dam. It was so cool to learn about these dams because I never thought about the behind the scenes of what helps the Netherlands stay dry. After this day filled with so many different places, we had dinner and went back to the hotel. I had to make sure I got a good night sleep because the next day I had some leadership roles I needed to do, so stay tuned for the next post about that!