4 years ago

The Partnership no. 11

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Cultivation
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Vegetables
  • Varieties
  • Growers
  • Peppers
  • Geothermal

LET cucumbers... Product

LET cucumbers... Product Product What’s happening? The northern European cucumber crops are traditionally dominated by the Long European Type (LET): glossy, smooth fruits about 30 cm long with a thin, edible peel and a fruit weight of about 400 grams. Although the fruit has hardly changed on the exterior, the developments in cultivation and breeding have continued. Crop Sales Manager Paul van Dijck and Crop Research Director Matthijs Groot explain what is going on. The cucumber shelves in the northern European supermarkets cannot be classed as very exciting. Some retailers offer a more expensive, organic variety. Some have snack cucumbers in bags or plastic cups in their range, and that is usually where it stops. “Although in Germany and Eastern Europe, you sometimes see in-betweens such as mid-size and mini cucumbers,” says Paul van Dijck. “I have the impression that the volumes of these products are increasing, but diversity is significantly less than, say, tomatoes.” Apparently consumers are fairly conservative about cucumbers. Northern Europeans swear by LET, Americans by slicers, Russians prefer the prickly Russian type, and that pattern continues around the globe. There is quite a wide variety of shapes, colours and textures, as the journey around the word shows. Consumer preferences have a very regional focus. Modest expansion In Eastern Europe (Poland) and Russia, the acreage with LET cucumbers has significantly increased in the past decade. “The LET type in these countries is mainly popular in new high-tech companies,” the sales manager explains. “This really suits the high production levels of the LET varieties. Traditional cucumber varieties are often cultivated in open fields or low-tech greenhouses. These varieties are not bred as intensively, and this is something you notice quite well when you grow them in a contemporary greenhouse. The plants do really well there, but their production is below the levels of the contemporary LET varieties.” For that reason, LET cucumbers are meanwhile a familiar staple in the large cities of Russia, but has not crowded out the traditional prickly variation eaten salted in winter and fresh in summer. “The Russian consumer still prefers that variety and it is a matter of time before better prickly varieties will become available,” says Van Dijck. 4 | The Partnership The Partnership | 5

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