The corona outbreak is in the way of many entrepreneurs, but it also provides drive ideas to make something of it. This is also the case with arable farmers Johan and Elise Kruijthoff, who suddenly saw the price of potatoes drop after the first lockdown in March 2020. They started selling freshly cut chips on the farm. That turned out to be successful and they are now working on developing it into a hub for products from the Hoeksche Waard.
Although the arable farm, part of Novifarm is the main activity, the Kruijthoff family has operated a farm shop and 24/7 self-service in a converted garage in the yard for about 10 years. In the first lockdown, when the potato price plummeted, it was expanded to include a chip service in the hope of being able to sell extra chips potatoes.
“We had a professional chip cutter in-house that we mounted on a cubic box to cut chips for customers on the spot. The freshly cut fries went so well that they decided to do the cutting in the old farm shed and let customers wait in the car (corona proof). This is how the idea of the drive-through or farm drive was born, “says Johan Kruijthoff.
Farmdrive Kruijthoff is not a pop-up concept but is gradually being developed further. The number of products was expanded, because in addition to onions and potatoes from their own cultivation, they also sell (organic) carrots, quinoa and sweet potatoes. “The only condition is that the products have been grown in Hoeksche Waard and have a somewhat shelf life. It takes a bit of searching for the range.
That must be attractive enough for customers to drive for, because even when this lockdown is over, we want to continue with the farm drive. We are in a great location, are easily accessible and have plenty of space to receive people. The story of straight from the farm appeals to many people and we can certainly keep those customers.
However, the farm drive remains a hobby that got out of hand, which is still easy to manage in addition to all activities for Novifarm. There is a joint construction plan for potatoes, sugar beets, onions and grain with 4 other families. The onions did well last year, but it was a sad year for potatoes.
Consumer sales have not been able to prevent some of the potatoes from being processed into animal feed. Despite the fact that 2021 also offers many uncertainties with regard to the sales of chips potato, the construction plan for 2021 has not been radically changed. “Our table and chips potatoes are often sold to regular customers,” Johan concludes.