[caption id="attachment_230017" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A strawberry farm in a greenhouse like this one, is tentatively being explored in Bridgeville by Bosch Growers. | PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKICOMMONS/HAKCIPTA MOHAMED YOSIR[/caption]
BRIDGEVILLE — A Dutch hydroponic farming company is reportedly considering making southern Delaware home to its first United States location, according to preliminary plans filed with the state.Bosch Growers, based in the Netherlands, has filed an application to operate a hydroponic farm on roughly 60 acres of land at the corner of Adams Road and Newtown Road in Bridgeville. The facility would include 2.6 million square feet, including metal and glass greenhouses and supporting facilities.Bosch Business Development Manager Tijmen van den Bosch told the Delaware Business Times that the First State is one site the company is considering for a future expansion.“The information provided by this [planning] process will play a role in our ongoing decision-making as we continue to evaluate each potential East Coast site across a range of factors to determine which one is most appropriate for our facility,” he wrote in an email. “We will be able to discuss project details once we have selected our location.”Bosch Growers is a family business in its sixth generation, and was first started in 1854. Back then, the farm started by Leonardus van den Bosch in South Holland grew produce in open air. By the 1930s, the family started using greenhouses and thirty years later, Bosch Growers first used the Venlo greenhouse - known for its versatile model and edge vents that provide steady air flow.Today, the company is run by Jaco van den Bosch and his sons, Wouter and Tijmen. Bosch Growers cultivate green peppers, blackberries and strawberries. The United States location would be purely for strawberries. Rough plans would also include collecting rainwater off the roof of the greenhouse, purifying it, and using it to irrigate plants.“We’re planning to pursue our international dream in the United States. We want to build our strawberry greenhouse in two phases, with 28 acres in each phase. It will be hydroponically grown and have year-round production of local strawberries,” Tijmen van den Bosch said in a meeting with state officials in late February.Last year, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership indicated it was seeing an uptick in recent interest from food and agriculture companies, and would heighten its focus on Kent and Sussex counties to bring farms with technology and other innovations to the state.