‘I feel happy when I understand what is going on with plants’

I have a passion for berries. They are more than just a fruit, they come from the heart. I am very lucky to work with them. Before I started at Driscoll’s in the Breeding department, I studied agronomy in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Agronomy is a science based on all aspects that influence plants, such as: climate, soil, ocean currents and water. Berry plants, especially, have always fascinated me. My first job was within the Portuguese National Research Institute where I was doing berry research. After four years, I began to work as a Test Plot Manager for Driscoll’s in Portugal.

I feel happy when I understand what is going on with plants. That is why I chose to work at the agronomy department three years later. With our team we support potential new varieties, from the test plot level all the way up to the grower’s fields. We need to see that the plants adapt in a healthy way. A plant that doesn’t grow well will hardly have any good fruit. With tests on flavour, shelf life, appearance and colour, we collect information that is important for growers.

The challenge is to achieve the best potential for each region. Some of the regions are great in early fruit production, others in late. Plants can teach you a lot of new things that you would not expect. For example, about their growth or condition. I believe, that people who like to work with plants very easily become passionate. For me, plants are almost an addiction.