The story of Pop Vriend Seeds
Pop Vriend Seeds is a family company whose history of seed breeding dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Seed grower Pieter Vriend acted as a contract broker for seed growers in Andijk on the side. Popke, his smart, independent son, believed there was more to be earned in the seed trade. In 1956, he set up his own company: Pop Vriend Zaadteelt en Zaadhandel (Pop Vriend Seed Production and Seed Trade).
Pop decided to expand to Africa in 1958. In Holland there was insufficient land available and bean seed produces better under African climatic circumstances. He set up Pop Vriend Tanzania and had his bean seeds produced by African farmers at the foot of the Kilimanjaro. Today part of Pop Vriend Seeds' bean seeds are still grown on Tanzanian soil.
At the end of the 1960s, Pop Vriend took a step that proved to be crucial to the success of his young company: he started breeding bean varieties. Pop hired a young professional breeder and together they forged ahead to become one of the top bean breeders in Europe. Some of the varieties Pop Vriend Seeds developed in that period are still used today.
Pop Vriend Seeds remained a family company. Arnold Vriend became responsible for the firm's bean production in Tanzania and contract production in the United States, and later on in other parts of the world as well. Son-in-law Klaas Timmerman, who was recruited as international sales person, expanded the business with many new clients. This was also the period in which excellent ties were established with the European and American canning and frozen food industry – ties that Pop Vriend still values today.
American spinach market
Arnold and Klaas took over responsibility for the company in the 1980s. Pop Vriend Seeds decided to expand their range of products with spinach. They didn't know anything about spinach, but thanks to a passionate spinach breeder they had taken on, this daring move proved to be a great success. After growers in the US discovered Pop Vriend Seeds' spinach varieties, the company conquered the demanding American spinach market. Today, Pop Vriend Seeds supplies all the major producers of fresh market and processing spinach in the US and Europe.
More or less at the same time as the company ventured into spinach breeding, Klaas initiated a partnership with an important sweet corn breeder in the US. This step, too, was successful: Pop Vriend Seeds is a major seller of hybrid sweet corn varieties in Europe. Pop Vriend Seeds steadily grew, and the number of employees increased in step. Outstanding Export Managers have ensured that Pop Vriend Seeds, over time, has built up a large client base throughout the world. These clients are served directly or by an extensive network of local Pop Vriend Seeds distributors.
Love for the product
Pop Vriend Seeds' next generation proved to be just as interested in the seed trade as their predecessors. In 2003, Arnold and Klaas handed the torch over to their children, Arwin Vriend and Lara Timmerman. They expanded the company further and introduced a number of changes to facilitate growth. But what will not change in the future is the independent nature of this family firm and the traditional values that have made Pop Vriend Seeds' business the success it is today. Quality, reliability, flexibility and – above all – love for the product.