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The Partnership no. 12

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Partnership
  • Zaden
  • Vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Products
  • Varieties
  • Japan
  • Seeds
  • Breeding

Labour-intensive with

Labour-intensive with different growth times. Draaistra: “There are varieties The cauliflower has traditionally been quite a that need to be harvested after 200 days, but there are also labour-intensive crop to grow. For example, take the outer leaves of the cauliflower. These need to close neatly around the cauliflower to protect the white part and to ensure that the cauliflower remains white. The grower used to ‘cover’ the cauliflower manually, but that is no longer necessary: “With the current crops, the outer leaves tend to grow around the cauliflower,” explains Crop Research Director Jan Draaistra. “Or the variety has been cultivated in such a way that the cauliflower varieties that growers need to harvest after eighty days, because otherwise they will go to flower. A variety with a short growing time seems an obvious choice, but in the French region of Brittany the growers cannot till and plant the soil again after each harvest. The weather and soil conditions are simply not suitable. These growers therefore opt for varieties with different successive growing times. During the sowing season, all plots of land are sown over a short period and this allows the grower to continue harvesting throughout the season.” Romanesco A growing market. Currently still a small niche market, but people want to try something different every once in a while. remains white even though it is not completely covered.” Challenging All in all, this means that there are regions that use twenty different varieties in order to supply product throughout the year. Adapting to the specific and growing periods is what makes growing cauliflower so challenging. For tropical areas, for Bear in mind that there are many growing regions worldwide, each with their own specific growing conditions. The cauliflower From whole product to pizza base in the financial resources available to add vegetables to instance, varieties with other tolerances and disease resistances therefore has a large variety portfolio. In addition, the cauliflower The demand for smaller cauliflowers arose when the meal in addition to rice. In addition to this, cauliflower are needed compared to Northwest Europe or any other region is a biennial crop. This means that seed production takes two households started to decrease in size. The current is becoming more of a staple vegetable in Asia, Africa for that matter. Moreover, a cauliflower year is divided into years, which requires careful planning of the seed production. trends however, such as convenience, have resulted in and in a few South American countries. In the past, these various growing seasons: spring crop, summer crop, autumn “This makes the contact with the supply chain and between a large increase in sales of pre-cut vegetables, including areas were not suitable for the cultivation of cauliflower, crop, autumn-sown crop and winter crop. One or more different breeder, production and sales even more important,” according packaged cauliflower florets. As a result, there is demand for example because they are too warm, causing the crop varieties are required for each growing season. In addition, to Oldenkamp. “It is the only way that we can act quickly and from the processing industry for large cauliflowers with a to go to seed or fail to develop a head. Plant breeding growers in certain regions - such as France - opt for varieties offer flexibility.” lot of florets. techniques have produced good varieties that are suitable for growing in these ‘difficult’ areas. The consumption of cauliflower has undergone – to put it mildly – an extraordinary development. Until a few The diversification of cauliflower will also play a role decades ago, the Western consumer bought a whole in the future. This involves a growth in the market for cauliflower, cut this into florets at home and then boiled cauliflowers of different colours – green, purple and these florets. The trend towards ready-made and the orange – and the Romanesco, the cauliflower with emergence of the processing industry resulted in the ‘turrets’. “People want to try something different every rise of sales of loose florets. The next step followed once in a while. It is currently still a small niche market, quickly; the florets became even smaller and were sold but we are seeing growth in this ‘specialities’ market.” with other vegetables, such as broccoli, in mixed bags or combination packages. These are the times that we live Above all, we expect to see growth in the processing of in now, but a new dimension has recently been added: cauliflower, for example in different products such as the product is being processed even further. In effect, pizza bases. This is a direct consequence of the trend the cauliflower is pulverised and processed to form pizza towards healthy eating, the fight against allergies, etc. bases, rice substitutes, tortillas, etc. Oldenkamp: “This is “We are taking these factors into consideration in our a trend that appears to be catching on in many markets. product development,” says Draaistra. “For example, in Of course this ties in perfectly with a healthy lifestyle and addition to the breeding programmes for the conventional cauliflower is a good substitute for - for example - gluten- white cauliflower, we also have separate programmes containing grain products.” for the breeding of the specialities and for the New areas and diversification cauliflowers intended for processing. We select different characteristics for the cauliflowers that are intended for The demand for cauliflower is expected to increase processing: large heads that are very uniform. We are over the coming years. This is partly due to the rising focusing fully on the future.” prosperity; in many countries there has been an increase 6 | The Partnership Carlo Tissi, Junior Breeder at Enza Zaden Italy The Partnership | 7

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