AALSMEER, The Netherlands / SORIA, Spain: Dear flower folks, if you think Spain is just about olive and palm trees, Nerium oleander and carnations it’s time to think again. Launching in Soría, Spain, is Aleia, a 14ha rose farm which aims at growing premium quality and sun-kissed roses in an environmentally sound matter.
Workers are putting the finishing touches to Spain’s largest hydroponic rose farm, an impressive construction of Venlo greenhouses with a 6 metres post height and incorporating diffused glass to avoid leaf burn under Spain’s strong sunlight. The presentation of the new company took place today at Aalsmeer’s Historical Gardens.
The company’s chief executive, Luís Corella Arroquia told FloraCulture International that the Aleia project has come a long way, explaining that he learned the ropes in Mexico where he realised over 150ha of greenhouses for the production of fresh produce. In this new interconnected era with a fast growth in online sales, his newest challenge is growing and creating a value added greenhouse product that the higher end of retail and wholesale markets can trust with their eyes closed.
To reach this goal the company hired two managers from the Netherlands who will provide the necessary crop support for the next few years. For the training of employees Aleia teamed up with Delphy Improvement Centre. Two ultra-modern grading machines from Bercomex ensure the right stem length and bud size of the Red Naomi roses (a bred from Schreurs) whereas HPS lamps from Agrolux provide light levels of 12,000 lux from the end of October until the end of February. A turnkey project that not only Dutch hothouse builder Dalsem but also Spain as a whole can be proud of.
In the meantime Aleia has become a member of Royal FloraHolland and it will market its annual output of 40 million stems entirely via the auction. Upon harvesting the Red Naomi roses will be put into water in a refrigerated truck. From Soria to Aalsmeer is a 20 hours journey by truck without any interruption of the cold chain.
The scale of the €50 million project is mind boggling for Spanish flower growers. When complete its greenhouse will sprawl across 14 ha of Castille and León (Spain’s largest autonomous region) countryside, rising 1,030 metres above sea level. The pristine waters from the Duero river and rainwater will be used for irrigation. The water will be disinfested and recycled.