You can recognise a fresh aubergine by the beautiful dark black colour, and it is tastiest when it's not too soft and has not yet formed any seeds. I even buy aubergines in the winter, despite the fact that they come from Spain: I enjoy them that much.
Growers Paul and Aad van der Knaap grow aubergines at their nursery in Honselersdijk. The brothers have grown up in horticulture. The company has now expanded to cover 5.2 hectares.
Paul explains: “The aubergine is part of the ‘nightshade family’, a family which includes many well-known crops such as the potato, the pepper and the tomato. We grow the Beyoncé variety. This variety gives an attractive elongated fruit. It’s a nice crop; it’s not a big crop (in terms of area) and it’s also something a bit original.”
Panda is a real family firm. The brothers’ wives are also committed to the nursery, and the children help out during the school holidays. Panda likes to employ young people; it keeps the business dynamic.