Interview with a quality mark

Interview with Wout Stam, Chairman of the quality mark “Echt Texel’s Produkt”.

The first thing Wout said when I told him that I want to talk to him about his quality mark in relation to sustainability was: Sustainability is not one of our goals. When the association was founded 27 years ago, the main goal was to give farmers and entrepreneurs a stronger position in the market by giving it a local imago and in this way giving it more attention.


What are the conditions for gaining the quality mark?

-          75 % of the ingredients should be grown on the island, 75% of the processing should be done on the island, that’s it. A separate commission does those controls, after that, the company can join our association.

Are there any costs for joining the association?

-          The first year costs 150 euro, after that, companies pay 100 euros per year. That is the standard costs. If companies want to be connected to the booklet of the cycle routes that is provided every year that brings some extra costs every year. But we want to stimulate use of local products, so sometimes we make concessions. For example today I got an email of a person who wants to start an artichoke farm on the island and he does not have a large budget. What we do sometimes is that we square the costs of the first year, for a startup project these 100 euros can make a difference.

Are there annual controls to check if the attending companies still reach the requirements?

-          No, we do not do that, actually we should but until now we did not find a fitting way to do this. It has occurred in the past that we heard rumors that some company was for example selling sheep meat coming from Zeeland although he claimed that it was from Texel. In this kind of cases we will go there and check it, if the rumor is right we will revoke the license for the quality mark.

Do you know anything about the reaction of tourists on the quality mark? Did sales increase?

-          We don’t have methods to check this. What we hear from a lot of attending companies is that their sales grew since they have the quality mark. There are three fine examples, those are the cheese from Wezenspyk, which is also being sold in Amsterdam, Texel’s lamb meet and the Texelse Brewery. Beers from this brewery are being sold in almost the whole hotel and catering industry on the island. Tourists prefer a local beer instead of a beer of the large, well known brands. This beer is such a big success that even in a lot of places in the province of North-Holland  it is available.

Was it hard to establish the association? Are there many legislations you had to take in account?

-          Yes, we are a registered trademark (gedeponeerd handelsmerk). This trademark is valid for ten years, so we have to renew it every 10 years, this is a lot of work, we decided to assign this to a different company, experts on this area, so that we don’t have to do this ourselves anymore. We are now in the middle of the process to renew our trademark because the 30th year is coming closer.

-          Companies are allowed to name their products an “Echt Texels ProduKt”, the name is not covered but the logo is. Only if you are connected with the association you are allowed to place the logo on your labels.

Besides that the products should come from the island, are there any sustainable requirements?

-          No, not at all.


Interview with Danielle, owner of Wijnhuis Oosterend

Wijnhuis Oosterend is a liquor producer in the village of Oosterend. They produce 28 different liquors like bitters, jenever, brandy, advocaat and many more. They use mainly ingredients from the island.

We interviewed Danielle, owner of Wijnhuis Oosterend


Was it hard to gain the quality mark?

-          It was quite easy getting the quality mark. There is a one-time check in the beginning, after that there is no check or control anymore. Danielle thinks that it would be a good thing if there would be more controls, maybe every year.

Was it affordable?

-          Yes, it costs 100 euro’s a year , the first year was a bit more but it is reasonable.

Were there any sustainable requirements?

-          The focus of the foundation is not sustainability, they just check whether or not the products are made  on the island. Nevertheless we do see it as a sustainable initiative although it is not their intention.  

What impact did you notice from the quality mark?

-          Especially tourists like products that come from the island, “We really like tourists to experience real Texel’s products.”  The purchases by tourists have increased since they have the quality mark. The purchases by islanders did not really change because of the quality mark. The biggest part of their products is sold to tourists but they have got a lot of islanders as customers too.

-          Also economically it is beneficial, “We (the attending companies) keep each other alive by this quality mark, we buy ingredients from the island, that means the products  from other companies on Texel”. This effect is intensified by the booklet that is provided for the tourists every year, this booklet contains a few bicycle routes on the island connecting all the companies with quality mark. This brings more and more tourists to the companies attending.

How important is sustainability for you as a person?

-          Danielle really appreciates Texel’s efforts of making the island sustainable. She tries to do the best she can with the vineyard. Besides that the biggest part of her products is grown and processed on the island, she encourages reuse by offering the opportunity to refill bottles so people do not have to buy new ones every time.



Interview with the owner of the Novalishoeve

The  Novalishoeve is a care farm, this means that people who have minor psychological problems and difficulties integrating in society can live here and slowly grow towards operating normally in society. The farm grows vegetables and has milk and meat cows, everything is treated in a biodynamic way.  The Novalishoeve also has a restaurant and a shop where products of the season are available.

We interviewed the owner of the Novalishoeve via a telephone call.


Was it hard to gain the quality mark?

-          It is quite hard to get the quality mark, there are some strong requirements. 75 percent of the products needs to come from the island and 75 percent of the processing needs to be done at the island. The first check is very serious, after that there are no checks anymore. This is different from other quality marks as “Skal biocontrole” and “Demeter biodynamische kwaliteit”. We have these quality marks too, and they keep checking our products every year.

-          We have the Demeter quality mark because we are a Biodynamic farm, this is based on theories of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic agriculture is known as the first sustainable agriculture movements originating from the 1920’s. The main idea of this concept is the closing of cycles, that’s what we try to do on this farm. For example using faeces of the cows for fertilizing the ground.

Were there any sustainable requirements?

What impact did you notice from the quality mark?

-          “Tourists like it, people from Texel don’t really need it. They visit us and buy our products anyway, they know our products are good and fair. Also our products are being sold in many supermarkets like Ekoplaza but also the closest Spar sells our products. People can recognize our products by our own label.”

How important is sustainability for you as a person?

-          “Sustainability is our main goal, you should meet our farmer, he is immensely  passionate and can tell everything about our methods.”





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