Clean cultivation – Innovation – Environmental protection – Sustainability – Social responsibility
Veresi Paradicsom Ltd. was launched in 2014 by Rita Jójárt and Zsolt Márkus, who was successful as business development director in the international and domestic world. Zsolt Márkus saw an opportunity to fill the gap he found in the field of Hungarian vegetable growing; he wanted to create an innovation-based, hydroculture-based, clean-growing greenhouse.
The founder-owner manages the first domestic greenhouse to produce the same delicious, high-quality and nutrient-rich tomatoes every day of the year, including the autumn and winter seasons. Veresi Paradicsom replaces about one thousand tons of imports with domestic production. This is especially important because the value of the nutrient content is up to 300-600% higher than that of imported tomatoes. This is because the berries ripen at the root, not during transport or in the warehouse. Manager's primary goal is to provide premium vegetables not only to Western European consumers, but also to have a high-nutrition tomato with pure cultivation technology on the domestic market, with significantly better health effects than imported products.
The greenhouse does not produce traditional tomatoes but specialties, and Veresi Paradicsom was the first to introduce these specialties in Hungary, and is currently the market leader in this field. The Brix value of the Cukorfalat and Piccolo variety is 12, the sweetest tomatoes in the world and their sugar level is comparable to that of grapes. These two varieties cannot be cultivated in Hungary by anyone else, the Veresi Paradicsom owns the license. Besides grocery store chains tomatoes reach world-famous Michelin-starred restaurants such as Onyx Restaurant Budapest led by Adam Mészáros, and Stand Restaurant Budapest by Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló.
Premium quality in all aspects – excellent sweet taste, perfect appearance, high nutritional values – besides the use of excellent seed, no unnecessary chemicals are used in cultivation; pollination by bumblebees, pest control by ichneumon and predatory bugs. The own weather station is an important part of the regulation; data is used to analyze and control the temperature and humidity using a climate computer. The roots are planted in an organic coconut fiber cushion, so that the plant cannot absorb harmful substances or chemical residues from the soil. The irrigation water is constantly and accurately controlled, so that only controlled substances can enter the tomatoes. Everyone who enters the greenhouse must adhere to strict hygiene standards, and there are also strict hygiene standards throughout the work process from planting to harvesting to green waste disposal.
Thanks to the water extracted from the thermal wells of town Veresegyház, it operates a zero-emission heating system. The technology has no environmental burden because the cooled water is not discharged into waste water, but is pressed back. 100% of the irrigation water is collected and recycled after cleaning. Both activities are unique in Hungary. The packaging is made from FSC-standard recycled paper. This year the first plastic-free packaging material was introduced to the Hungarian market. The company uses more than a thousand tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to 50 buses per year of carbon dioxide to support photosynthesis.
The integration of innovation, R&D and education into cultivation, business development and commercial activities is of paramount importance to Veresi Paradicsom. Cooperation with Szent István University is also ongoing, and for many years the Veresi Paradicsom has been part of the internship program. The company is expanding its educational activities with a soon-to-be-built visitor center where anyone can learn about clean, hydroponic cultivation technology.
The company, which was initially export oriented, now sells exclusively to the domestic market. Zsolt Márkus has an exemplary corporate philosophy in Hungarian business world: it is important – or the most important – to support the Hungarian economy, including the Hungarian manpower, even with less revenue from the company. The company has high-quality working conditions and offers salaries that are in line with European wages. As a result, many Hungarian workers returned home from abroad. An additional attraction is that the company gives a career plan because employees can become professionals in their area, which, along with professional advancement, leads to higher salaries. Maintaining a family-friendly workplace is a core value for employers; this includes flexible working time arrangements, a maternity support program, and the planned establishment of a kindergarten and, during the summer holidays, the creation of a childminder.
The success of the Veresi Paradicsom is recognized by foreign and domestic accolades: in 2017 it won the best Hungarian agribusiness category among SMEs, in 2017 and 2018 it was invited to Berlin for the Tomato Inspiration Event, where the 100 most innovative horticulturalists are invited. This year, Rita Jójárt and Zsolt Márkus, Managers of Veresi Paradicsom, won the Special Award for New Generation Production Technology at EY Business Partner of the Year, which is particularly important because it is the first innovation award given to a company operating in the agricultural sector.