The Dutch People to Watch for: Corné Overbeeke from Quinoa Holland
Corné Overbeeke has had to travel a lot for his job as a software vendor, in both Europe and America. At one point he finished unhealthy food. He wanted to live a healthier life and saw “quinoa” on the menu at New York salad bars. He didn’t know it, but he thought it was absolutely delicious. He now grows it himself, along with his father Louw, and sells whole quinoa to both the food industry and consumers. From Flevopolder. Flevopolder? Yes, quinoa is from Dutch soil.
After his first encounter with quinoa in 2014, Cornet began reading about this nutritious grain from Peru and Bolivia. It was eaten by many poor people there, until the Western world discovered it. Due to exports, locals no longer have the money to eat quinoa, it has become very expensive. I think that’s a shame, because it is good for them. This creates more obesity, as they start eating unhealthy food. You often see it in poor countries. Additionally, quinoa must travel several kilometers before reaching here. All of these container ships are highly polluted. This is against my nature. I think you should produce as locally as possible wherever there is demand. “
Quinoa is a tough crop.
These were the two main reasons, plus the fact that Cornet himself finds quinoa very tasty and healthy, to start growing quinoa with his father in 2015. “I grew up on a farm. I worked a lot in the office and was on the road a lot. At some point you start thinking: What do I want. ? I like what I do, but I would like to be outside more. As a hobby and an experience I thought it would be fun to grow quinoa with my dad. Then I would be outside more and be busy with a physical product. Growing quinoa is a really cool change from selling software and visual effects. My father used to grow different kinds. From grains and potatoes fifty years ago. When I suggested to him to grow quinoa, he saw it as a challenge. We started to try a number of varieties of quinoa, many of them failed. This is partly due to our climate. It should grow here for a very long time, about five months. If we planted In March, we can harvest in September. But after that it is very humid in Holland. So quinoa is a difficult crop. “
After many attempts and a number of crops failed, they found a saponin-free variant. “This is a type of whole grain quinoa that does not require pre-cleaning. As a result, the dietary fiber is not lost. Quinoa is rich in protein and is good for people who exercise or follow a vegan diet. Plus, it gets a full feel. I exercise a lot and love it.” Eat it, because I’m not hungry again in an hour. ” Five years later, the demand for quinoa is still high. “It is still popular. I see more and more people want to eat a varied diet. “
Why do you wake up in the morning?
“Quinoa Holland A big part of my passion. I feel like I’m doing something right. Sustainability is important to me and we are making a contribution to what we do now. We try to provide healthy food for many people. Supermarket prices for quinoa are high. Our price is much lower. We really do everything ourselves, as a couple, so we can offer you competitive rates. Local healthy food for as many people as possible, this is what I stand for. “
What are you doing now?
I think everyone is interested in Corona, and I hope that things get better soon. This applies to everyone, us, but also our customers, such as the hospitality industry. They find it difficult, as they are not allowed to open. We hear these stories closely. This is also unfavorable for us, but fortunately it is not so bad. You can keep quinoa for a long time. This is different for tomato growers. And our new home keeps me busy in Almere. There is an area in which you can build your energy neutral homes. I need it closer to nature and greener. Now I have something to look forward to. “
How do you take care of yourself as a businessman?
“By taking great care of myself, exercising a lot and eating healthy. I’ve done a lot of kickboxing, and now I’m training online and doing a lot.
What did you like to do as a child?
“Being outside on the farm, playing a lot and playing soccer.”
What are your usual morning rituals?
“I eat quinoa with oatmeal, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts almost every morning. This is my standard breakfast, with coffee of course. I’m a morning person, I wake up around 6 o’clock and then I’m at work from fifteen to seven o’clock.”
What is a wise lesson you learned recently?
“Don’t panic and above all, stay calm. It’s very difficult sometimes, because when this crisis started, I first thought: Wow, what’s going on here, everything is collapsing. But then you see that consumers are looking more for local food and that they are They ask us to support us. You have learned that you must be flexible, and in our case, you should not focus on one target group, but on both the food industry and the consumers. I don’t bet on one horse, I learned that extra from this crisis. “
What can we learn from you?
“If you want something, just try and keep going. If you asked me six years ago to grow quinoa in the Netherlands, I would say, ‘No dude, this isn’t growing here. But why don’t you just try? You should never let the current situation hold you back.”
What do you appreciate about yourself?
“Add word action. You could say you want to be sustainable, but how do you do that? It’s about trying to change something.”
Suppose you can choose a mentor. Who is it and why?
“I find Jaap Korteweg inspiring, from a vegan butcher. He also lived on a farm. How he set it up and made people eat more vegetarian food, had a real effect. This effect has only grown since he sold it to Unilever. He was also a meat lover and he has been … He imitated this texture in a way that you no longer miss meat. He is now trying to make milk in a factory. I also eat his produce, especially now that my girlfriend has been eating vegetarian for a month and a half. Then you have to, but I love it too. I will never eat real chicken again, and that will be because of him “.
Tonight is your last dinner. What do you like to eat, with whom and with what will you talk?
“With my friend Fleur and my family. Then I was having a vegan burger with French fries from the oven, and my girlfriend could prepare that well. I would talk about the life we lived, but of course about the future as well.”
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