13 December 2023, Berlin: Last year, Rijk Zwaan introduced new hybrid leek varieties as the first step towards a complete portfolio for leek growers worldwide. Dutch grower Martijn Hendrickx has had good experience with Floccus RZ: “The variety proved its worth in spring and I plan to use it again next year.” As expressed in Rijk Zwaan’s theme for Fruit Logistica in Berlin, new varieties like this one are helping Martijn to move ‘freshly forward’.
Martijn (28) likes testing new varieties. “I have a very good relationship with Rijk Zwaan and I often run trials. I really appreciate the advice from Crop Advisor Arno van Oers. He lets me know when they have a nice new variety for me try, and he also tells me honestly when a variety is not suitable for me.”
Year-round leek supply to Albert Heijn
Together with his parents, Martijn owns the open-field vegetable farm called VOF Hendrickx Scheidreef in the Dutch village of Ossendrecht. On 50 hectares, they grow leek, fennel, kohlrabi and sweet potato for Bakker Barendrecht, which is a supplier to the major supermarket chain Albert Heijn. “We supply them with Dutch-grown leeks all year round. The leeks must be very uniform and not too long. Additionally, we find disease resistance very important because we have ever-fewer options available to us.”
More certainty at harvest time
The grower is positive about Floccus RZ, the new early variety that he trialled. “It definitely proved its worth, because it had less stress than my other variety and didn’t bolt. Its growth rate was a little slower, but that allowed me to harvest both varieties one after the other. That flexibility creates more certainty at harvest time. I will grow Floccus RZ again next spring, and on a larger area this time. I never make a complete switch in one go, because every year is different.” Martijn also trialled Volutus RZ in the autumn and was impressed by its good uniformity.
Building a complete portfolio
Floccus RZ, Volutus RZ and two other newcomers – Nebulus RZ and Radiatus RZ – are the first four varieties in Rijk Zwaan’s range of hybrid leek varieties, which the company is steadily building into a complete portfoliofor all cultivation regions and segments. For the next generation of leek varieties, the breeding team is focusing on even better crop reliability, labour performance and resistances. Rijk Zwaan will continue to work closely with growers to fine-tune the varieties in line with their needs.
Moving forward together
Martijn particularly values Rijk Zwaan’s commitment to collaboration. “I’m always looking for varieties with even better harvest certainty and uniformity to help my company move forward. That’s why Rijk Zwaan is a very important advisor for us. I still remember being allowed to go with my parents and Arno to visit German farms to see their kohlrabi cultivation methods and varieties in 2008. I was just a young boy, and I loved it! At that time, Bakker Barendrecht had asked if we could supply kohlrabi, which was a new crop for us. Arno helped us a lot with technical knowledge and choosing varieties. Rijk Zwaan varieties still account for 100% of our kohlrabi to this day.”
Join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward ‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’ – this is the theme Rijk Zwaan has chosen for tackling today’s challenges, together with its partners. We will be presenting robust and resilient solutions as well as inspiring innovations at Fruit Logistica 2024 (Hall 1.2, D-13). You are also welcome to visit the Rijk Zwaan Retail Center in Berlin – the company’s very own experience and research facility.
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