A feasibility study last year showed that saline vegetables from the Dutch province of Zeeland can also be cultivated in an indoor cultivation system. This offers possibilities for the year-round consumption of these Zeeland products. Before saline vegetables from the company become available, more research is needed to optimize the cultivation, production, and flavor.
Zeeuws Zilt, the company of the Dutch brothers Janse, carried out a study with a consortium of companies and educational institutions Scalda and HZ University of Applied Sciences, regarding the possibilities of indoor cultivation of saline vegetables. The consortium received a grant from the regulation "Zeeland in Stroomversnelling" to advance the province.
For the technical feasibility, various cultivation systems were used. Besides a main role in the cultivation of glasswort, the consortium also sees possibilities for common sea lavender and other saline vegetables that aren't as well known. Indoor cultivation could make these products available year-round, making it easier to create a market for them.
The research showed that technical cultivation is possible, but there are still many challenges in getting the products and their production to the desired level. Especially the current energy prices make economic feasibility challenging.
Within this research project, students from HZ University of Applied Sciences have conducted an impact analysis regarding the potential use of agricultural buildings that are becoming available in Zeeland through new indoor systems.
The consumer of saline vegetables seems to benefit from a product derived from indoor cultivation since the product becomes available year-round, is uniform, clean, and can be used immediately. Various restaurants have already expressed their enthusiasm.
In the follow-up project, which is currently being prepared, the optimization of the product will be central, as well as quality. Furthermore, research will be conducted regarding an installation aimed at energy efficiency, automation, and labor savings. Also, further research will be done regarding the energy requirement and how this can be generated by the growers themselves.