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3 years ago

ThePartnership no. 15

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  • Vegetable
  • Squash
  • Smartfood
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  • Onions
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Enza
  • Varieties

Observing plants in a

Observing plants in a screening trial of Romanesco and Greyzini types. Latina, Italy Flexibility Kouters mentions that the growth that she is witnessing in the product is also due to the broad portfolio that Enza Zaden offers. She is referring not only to the various types worldwide, but also to the wide range of varieties that are tailored to the different growing conditions. “We want to develop more varieties for different climatological conditions, such as the desert, a humid climate or specific soil types. We serve the market better if the product can be grown in a range of locations.” In addition, she mentions that a range of varieties for specific conditions also offers a lot of flexibility. For example, it provides the option to have various sowing periods. Balance In contrast to the greenhouse crops, the soil plays an important role in open field crops, such as summer squash. “A good balance between plant and fruit is essential. This is why, when assessing new varieties, we strongly focus on the plant instead of just the fruits”. The summer squash is also a very sensitive crop, with small differences in the environment having a major impact on the balance between plant and fruit. Each area therefore requires genetically different plants tailored to the specific environmental factors. Resistance A good example of this is the increasing and expanding disease burden in the field. In the past, the main pathogen was the Potyvirus, but the white fly-transmitted Geminivirus is increasingly becoming a problem. “Some viruses cause so much damage that an intermediate resistance can make the difference between having fruits on the plant or not. Solely for this reason we have doubled the number of locations worldwide where we perform local screenings. As a result, we can focus especially on resistances in the breeding programme.” Partnership “It is up to us to create options for our customers,” adds Portfolio Manager Cody Hollar. “In order to determine what those options have to be in terms of adaptable squash varieties, the cooperation between Sales, R&D, and our distributing partners is very important. We need each other even more for a good mutual understanding. And we need to work together constantly to achieve the best results. That is why we create more trials for testing new hybrids and often visit these screenings together.” When possible, an Enza Zaden product specialist is present in order to give attention to this product selection process and link all of these people together. Market wishes And the market itself, has it seen many changes in recent years? Hollar explains that the market has remained fairly constant in general. However, the requirements for fruit quality have been raised considerably. “It is also striking to note that consumers appreciate shiny, firm fruits that are darker in colour. And this does not only apply to zucchini, but also to the other types such as tapered and the Grey Mexican.” Of course, one market is not the same as the other. In some countries there is a strong focus on ‘locally grown’ products, with each product being labelled or packaged in its own way. Another market may focus primarily on organic. In another region they might demand products that are so fresh that the flower is still attached to the fruit to give it extra allure. In Italy, the male flowers – without the fruit – are even available in stores for consumption. Squash family While there are already several more types of summer squash highlighted in this article, the squash family is even larger than you might think. From a broader perspective, there are even three major species covering summer and winter squashes (several of which are classified as pumpkin). Cucumis Cucurbita Hollar: “The way in which summer squash is sold worldwide is just as varied as the ways in which it is processed: fresh, deep frozen, in slices, in blocks, pureed, or – as previously mentioned – as noodles.” The future This broad portfolio is unique and Enza Zaden would like to expand this range even further in the coming years. With relatively new programmes to deliver types such as the Greyzini and the Grey Mexican, but also in the field of plant characteristics. Kouters: “To achieve this, we are going to focus even more on the local conditions. Instead of testing existing varieties in other areas, we will focus from the very start of the development process on the specific details of local conditions. Searching for solutions to the local challenges is our motto in this.” Although some summer and winter squashes are closely linked genetically, what really sets them apart is the stage at harvest due to the consumption preference in the market. Summer squash is harvested as an immature fruit, meaning that the seeds and shell have not fully formed. Citrillus The tapered range The market demand differs greatly all over the world, from tapered to cylindrical and from striped to dark green. A large portion of the total global market is dominated by the cylindrical zucchini type. This type is available in Europe, in North America, and other continents. Tapered squash is the other type with broad global appeal. In contrast to zucchini it has a whiter/light green colour, is usually shorter, and tapers more. In other words, the end of the fruit by the stem may be slimmer while the blossom end may have similar diameter to a zucchini. But don’t let these compact fruits with generally lower weight fool you: they are just as versatile and appealing to use in traditional and modern recipes alike. 6 | The Partnership These tapered squashes grow in markets all the way from the Mediterranean area (on all sides), up to Eastern Europe, through the Middle East, and in many parts of Asia. ‘Zucchini continents’ like the Americas and Europe tend to have some tapered varieties mixed in as well. “We have solidified our squash portfolio in this type already and we are seeing growth for our customers that should continue nicely in the coming years,” according to Portfolio Manager Cody Hollar. “We are seeing growth for our customers.” Cody Hollar Melo = Melon Sativus = Cucumber Mixta (argyrosperma) Zucchini (courgette) Tapered / bulbous Greyzini / Romanesco Grey Mexican Various yellow Round / Gem others Pepo Halloween Spaghetti Acorn others Summer Squash Maxima Winter Red Grey Kabocha others Lanatus = Watermelon Moschata Butternut Kent Musqué others The Partnership | 7