We’re powered by people
The Mazereeuws’ natural-born entrepreneurial spirit is a key factor in the 85 years of Enza Zaden. But the most important ingredient for all those years of growth is very clear: it's all about people, and our success comes from the right people working together, internally and with our customers and growers. We realize that our success is not just down to our founders but to all of us, dedicated Enza Zaden people who have helped us grow and thrive over the years.
Touchdown in Sicily
“Once, I found a card with the address of a Sicilian grower in a packet of seed that I had bought from a local reseller.”
This quote is the start of a wonderful anecdote that Jacob Mazereeuw often told. It illustrates his no-nonsense mentality and clever sense of business. After finding out the address of the Italian grower, Jacob - not one to shy away from adventure - figured out how to get to Sicily quickly, and he flew there to find him. This wasn’t so obvious in the early 50s! He managed to track him down without speaking a word of Italian, then dropped by unannounced and negotiated a contract. By following his gut, he was able to get the seeds to the Netherlands for a great price. Talking about "chasing difference"!
The first great success we can contribute to Enza Zaden’s maverick thinking was the tomato variety Extase. It offered more yield, high resistance, and a beautiful, even color. For us, that was like hitting the bull’s eye. This significant breakthrough product propelled Enza Zaden forward and helped us to grow at a much faster rate. You could say that this tomato variety really put Enza Zaden on the map and enabled us to invest seriously in breeding programs, technology, and highly qualified employees.
Passion for plants
“My heroes? Darwin for his evolution theory and Mendel, the father of genetic inheritance.”
For Piet Mazereeuw, breeding new varieties is one of the things he lives for. When asked, he will recall every name, every number, every resistance, and every other property and recite them proudly, all the way back to the 60s! With his natural talent for vegetable seed breeding, enhanced by a creative mind and a fearless mentality, he was able to create some of our company’s most successful varieties. His passion for plants and product development has lost none of its force, and he cares just as strongly about them now as he did when he started 60 years ago.
Monique is a cucumber. But not just any cucumber. She’s a sweet, hybrid variety with exclusive female flowering and great resistance introduced in the late 60s. After listening to the British growers, we used the money earned with Extase and started up the successful cucumber breeding program that led to Monique conquering the markets of Great Britain and the Mediterranean countries. As a result, we gained the trust and appreciation of the growers.
"If we give away our parent lines, we give away our children."
In the early 80s, we saw the potential for our cucumber and tomato varieties in Turkey. Because of local regulations and despite initial resistance, we shared our parent lines with a Turkish distributor, Ahmed Gönen. This led to successful seed production, with Amfora dominating 60% of the Turkish market. Our companies and families maintain a strong friendship to this day.
Sharing an organic vision
Nearly 30 years ago, Jan Velema had the vision of creating an organic world. In those times, the importance of organic food production was not a widely held view. Still, Jan persisted in chasing his dream. When he met Enza Zaden, it was clear that they shared a common vision, and in 1998 our company became a majority shareholder in Vitalis. This gave Jan the power to innovate and expand his activities. By combining the organic spirit of Vitalis and the innovative power of Enza Zaden, it grew into Europe’s largest organic breeder and producer of organic vegetable seeds. Today, Vitalis is 100 % owned by Enza Zaden.
Tribelli: inspired by consumers
In 2009, we started developing snack-sized sweet peppers for the US market, sensing a consumer demand for tasty, healthy snack products. These little peppers got really popular, and we then took the idea to Spain in 2012. To avoid repeatedly introducing a variety of names and to reinforce our leadership position, we called all these tiny peppers "Tribelli". By 2017, Tribelli was the largest segment for Enza Zaden. This just goes to show that innovative seed companies like ours can shake things up in the supermarket vegetable aisle.
HREZ: High Resistance by Enza Zaden
In 2016, one tomato plant showed remarkable promise. It had that one small difference that would make a big impact. It was the breakthrough that led us to HREZ: our exclusive collection of High Resistance tomato varieties, developed to combat ToBRFV. This virus has been destroying entire crops and threatening the global tomato industry since 2014, causing a significant decline in tomato production yields and rising production costs, and posing a threat to tomato quality at every level of the supply chain. Launched in 2022, our HREZ collection helps prevent the spread and has created a promising future for growers worldwide.