Is Francisca Wubben, information specialist at the library, the best
kitchen gardener in Holland? She is taking part in a TV programme called From Dutch Soil (from the EO broadcasting company). First installment: this evening.
Francisca Wubben from Swifterbant and her partner IJsbrand form one of the eight couples who will be doing battle for the title of ‘Holland’s best gardener’. The programme is a Dutch remake of the BBC production The Big Allotment Challenge. In six installments, in each of which one team bites the dust, it will become apparent who has the greenest fingers – and is a good cook into the bargain.
The programme was filmed last year between April and September in the garden of Amerongen castle. Each team was given a vegetable plot and a greenhouse. Francisca: ‘We were at work in Amerongen two days a week: one weekend day and one weekday, when I left work at three o’clock. Until August it was just the two of us gardening together. Then the jury came along.’
Two vegetables are focused on in each installment. The participants have to show their product and talk about how they went about growing it. And they have to cook a tasty dish with it. ‘But you were only told which vegetables just before the start. If it was strawberries, say, and yours were not looking too good at that point, it was just your bad luck. Then you had to think up something to do with two half-green strawberries.’
Francisca and IJsbrand were put forward for the programme by an acquaintance who had seen the advert – ‘and thought of us. We are both fanatical gardeners. We come from Westland, from market gardening families. I was already working at the former research station, now Applied Plant Research, at the age of 16.’ The production company Tuvalu then selected the couple to participate after an interview and a screentest. How far they got is still a secret, betraying which would incur a fine of 20,000 euros. ‘One couple is sent away at the end of each installment. That will look pretty dramatic on TV. But in reality we stayed in touch outside of the filming,’ she says. ‘We haven’t seen any of it ourselves yet. We’ll be watching the premiere tonight together with all the teams.