Many years ago, PINOCCHIO’s story started with a very enthusiastic Dutchman, Dirk Tijssen. He bought a 20 hectare piece of land, where he erected a couple of greenhouse tunnels. He then hired a 16-year old, Corné Baars, to help him on the farm. This guy had a pretty long nose, and soon he got the nickname Pinocchio. When the time came to register a name for the farm, we were already referring to it as PINOCCHIO’S FARM, and we did the obvious thing and register it as such. Later on, when the farm expanded we named the first piece of land FARM 1, just to avoid confusion. (See map below.) In 2010 Johan Tijssen followed in his fathers footsteps, taking over the business named Dicla Farm and Seeds. PINOCCHIO’S FARM soon followed. The younger Johan started expanding the farm, buying more 20 hectare smallholdings, one at a time. Where 2 of these ‘farms’ bordered, he took down the fences, hence enlarging the farm bit-by-bit. Now days the farm is divided into 4 parts, named Farms 1 to 4. In 2013 Johan bought another farm, this time remarkably larger. This 100 hectares stayed mainly untouched, and is known as our piece of bushveld.
Currently PINOCCHIO’S FARM covers about 240 ha of land, and another 140 ha is leased. PINOCCHIO’S has about 180 000 square metres of covered land, consisting of multi-span tunnels, as well as traditional 10x30m greenhouse tunnels. In the tunnels we use dripper or overhead irrigation, depending on the type of product we grow. We also have about 100* ha of open land, of which the majority is under dripper irrigation. Amongst other things, this plays a key role in our ‘good farming practices’ policy. READ MORE HERE. In the summer PINOCCHIO’S employ about 300 permanent workers, doing all sorts of work, such as planting, watering, harvesting and packing our products. The main lines of vegetables we grow are lettuce, English cucumber, tomatoes and peppers, but we also grow, butternut pumpkins, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, butter lettuce, cos lettuce, Chinese cabbage, traditional cabbage and spinach. Recently we started growing our own plants, using seeds from various companies, such as Starke Ayres, Hazera and Rijk Zwaan. PINOCCHIO’S veggies are delivered a number of places, including Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, Noordvaal Market Agents, D&W Fresh Market, Freshmark (Shoprite and Checkers), Wigwam (Various retail stores), Fruitspot and Fruit and Veg. Besides our almighty God, we believe that our strength is in diversity. Therefore we plant a large variety of vegetables. Our product is our pride, and the result of years of experience. We do not repeat our mistakes, and try to do things right up to the smallest detail. Johan also firmly believes in completing a task, correctly, the first time. At his primary school they had a motto, do it now, and he still lives according to that. We surely could not achieve all this, without our almighty God's support through all our highs and lows. We are privileged to have a great team of managers and sub-managers which contribute to our success.