Our history

Beekers Berries has now been in business for over 25 years.
Join us on a journey back in time!


The beginning

After completing his education at HAS, Wil Beekers began his career at a breeding company in North Holland. His affinity with nature was always present. “The urge to start my own business began to itch during my work in North Holland,” reveals Wil. So in 1991, Wil and his wife Anita started their own cucumber company in Made, North Brabant. After growing cucumbers for four years, they took a radical turn. In the autumn of 1995, Wil ventured into growing Elsanta strawberries in a greenhouse. “Although it was a huge leap of faith, I felt it was the right moment,” Wil continues. This step proved to be successful, and from that point, the full focus was on strawberry cultivation.

Assortment expansion

In the beginning, there were only early and late-season strawberries. The season ran from the end of June to September. “We had close contact with our customers from the start. At a certain point, they also asked for our product outside of the summer. Since I originally come from a greenhouse background, I expanded the open-field cultivation with the help of my experienced outdoor cultivation brother-in-law,” Wil explains. In 1997, Wil took the next step by adding the Lambada strawberry to the assortment. “1997 is etched in my memory. That was the year we first cultivated Lambada strawberries. This variety is an absolute queen among strawberries and offers growers the opportunity to stand out,” Wil adds. The Lambada, known for its refined sweet taste and soft texture, was a challenge to cultivate due to its demanding nature. The production was lower than other varieties, and the harvest required a specific approach: each strawberry was clipped with its stem and carefully placed in Beekers Berries trays.


Even more expansion

In the year 2000, raspberries and blackberries made their debut. Loyal customers of Beekers Berries specifically asked for these fruits, leading to their addition to the assortment in 2003. With our own excellent varieties, Sapphire® and Midnight™, we can now offer the most flavourful raspberries and blackberries year-round. Blueberries were added to the Beekers Berries assortment in 2006, completing the soft fruit selection.


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However, Wil didn’t stop there. Together with Hans de Jongh, he began breeding, and in 2007, he added the first specialties to the lineup. The Strasberry made its debut, with its distinctive appearance somewhat resembling a raspberry, combined with a sweet summer taste. In 2010, Hans developed the Pineberry, one of the world’s oldest strawberry varieties, also known as the pineapple strawberry. The variety was on the brink of extinction, but through dedicated research, cultivation, and harvesting, we managed to preserve and even enhance the Pineberry. This white strawberry has a delightful sweet-tart flavour with a hint of pineapple.

With the success of the Strasberry and Pineberry, more specialties followed, including the Whiteberry, Bubbleberry, Pinkberry, and Yellowberry. “We continue to work constantly on the development of our specialties, hoping for new varieties with stunning colours and rich flavours,” says Wil. In 2019, redcurrants with their refreshing sweet taste were added to our assortment, marking an important moment in the history of Beekers Berries. All of this has led to a beautiful selection of the highest quality soft fruit!

Passion and love

Breeding crops is a complex process, and with soft fruit, especially strawberries, there’s an added layer of complexity. This task requires deep knowledge and patience. Wil Beekers explains: “Strawberries are octoploids, which is a technical term meaning that crossing occurs in a genetic environment with highly unpredictable outcomes.” This means a breeder must work with numerous offspring to discover the right one. The right plant can sometimes be hidden among 2,000 to 10,000 plants. A true quest! “This not only makes it challenging but also requires a lot of time and financial investment. Though the chances of success are small, all of this adds an extra layer of satisfaction when you find a new variety after many years. Breeding soft fruit is indeed a costly endeavor,” Wil laughs. About a year after crossing, approximately 25 new plants emerge from that cross. These are thoroughly tested, and if they show positive results, they are further propagated. So, it’s a multi-year process before there is enough material to bring to market.

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