Cerescon was founded in November 2014 by Ad and Marc Vermeer and Thérèse van Vinken.
Ad Vermeer has more than 30 years’ experience in high-tech machine development in a variety of roles,
in particular in the field of development management and system architecture. Ad is also the co-founder of the successful high-tech startup SoLayTec B.V.
Ad has overall responsibility for technology.
Over a period of 30 years, Thérèse van Vinken Vinken has held various positions in project management, marketing
and marketing communications at Philips, FEI and ASML. Thérèse is responsible for general management, operational management and marketing activities for Cerescon.
Marc Vermeer had been an asparagus grower for more than 25 years (VermeerAsperges Leende).
It was Ad and Marc who first came up with the idea of automatic selective harvesting. Sadly, Marc was only able to see the
beginnings of Cerescon: after a short illness he passed away in December 2014. In the meantime, Ad and Thérèse continue with the work,
together with the input of asparagus application know-how from the UserGroup and Wageningen University of Research.
Cerescon is the first business worldwide to have successfully demonstrated the viability of an automatic selective
asparagus harvesting machine. Selective harvesting means that only individual asparagus with the correct size requirements are picked:
the remaining asparagus must be left undisturbed for several days before being harvested. Cerescon is taking up the challenge of creating a
successful product from this exciting innovation and so enable the company to meet its ambition of becoming a world leader in changing the face of
Sparter is still under development. A beta version of the machine was put through its paces by the Wageningen University of
Research for the 2017 growing season and by several large cultivators in Cerescon’s UserGroup. The first Sparter was sold in 2018 and several
demonstrations have been organized amongst asparagus growers. Are you an asparagus grower with a serious interest in Cerescon’s
innovative new technology and would like to attend a product demonstration? If so, make this known by filling out our Contact
Ad Vermeer - MSc Managing Director/CTO
Thérèse van Vinken - MSc Managing Director/General Manager
Brabant-bases family-owned company develops world's first selective asparagus harvester
It all began at a fun family birthday party of the large Brabant-based farming family Vermeer. Son Ad, who is a freelance inventor,
got a call from his asparagus-growing brother Marc: ‘Hey, you're an inventor, can’t you invent an asparagus harvester?’ Marc explained that it was
becoming increasingly difficult to earn a living growing asparagus: seasonal workers were becoming harder to find and all possible ways to cut costs
within the existing harvesting method had already been conceived. In Germany, Europe’s largest asparagus country, a new law had recently gone into
effect: asparagus planters from outside Germany had to be paid the German minimum wage, €9.00 per hour instead of €6.00. Many German asparagus growers
were already playing with the idea of moving their businesses to a low-wage country, which would mean a death blow for asparagus cultivation in
Western Europe. A well-functioning asparagus harvester could prevent that.
And so, the Vermeer brothers decided to conduct some research. Naturally the first question was: has an attempt ever been made to
build an asparagus harvester? It turned out that it had in fact been attempted, a number of times, even. Machines had been designed and built,
but never sold. The same problem was always encountered: how can the machine find the asparagus to be harvested? The human eye easily sees the
tips of the asparagus emerging from the soil, but a camera can barely see a difference between an asparagus tip and a random glint in the sand.
Now and then, the machine skips over wonderfully tender asparagus tips, only to turn all its attention to an unsuspecting white pebble.
Moreover, it isn’t ideal to harvest asparagus whose tips have already emerged; every millimeter of an asparagus that emerges above the ground
reduces its value. There isn’t, however, any choice when it comes to manual harvesting. But asparagus grower Marc had a revolutionary new take on
the problem: the machine should detect and harvest the asparagus before they even emerged from the sand – i.e. subsurface detection – and his
brother the inventor would just have to come up with a way to make it possible.......