The domestic season for fruit vegetables is currently in full swing. In all major growing areas in Germany tons of cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are harvested. This goes for Emsland Gemüse as well. Since its founding, the farm has been entirely dedicated to the production of tomatoes in three variations and serves only the regional market. FreshPlaza went to Emsbüren and talked to management about the current marketing and long-term opportunities in the tomato industry.
Plump tomatoes of the standard Lyterno variety after sorting.
Packageed tomatoes for retail.The majority of the products ultimately goes to branches in NRW and Lower Saxony. The label on the tomato packaging ensures 100% traceability.
The original Emsflower horticulture business was founded in 2011 as an independent greenhouse vegetable farm with a capacity of about 7 hectares at that time. At the moment, the total production capacity is about 15 hectares. There are still 3 hectares available for future expansion. The main variety in the cultivation is the Linto vine tomato which covers up to 70% of the total production. Cherry tomatoes of the Brioso (20%) and "Rivolo" varieties (about 10%) are cultivated on the remaining area. Harvest is from KW13-14 to KW48 or at the end of November.
The Rivolo tomato is the most sensitive variety in cultivation, as not all tomatoes on the same stem are ripe at the same time. This variety was added to the range two years ago. Recently, however, the production has a fourth variety or a mutant of the Lyterno; the Sweeterno.
Cherry tomato Brioso
In the period in which no tomato plants are in the glasshouse, i.e. until week 10, ornamental plants are grown on the site. Staff will also be exchanged as needed between the main site or the Ornamental Plant Department and the Vegetable Division. The marketing of vegetable products is 100 percent through the Central Association Landgard Nord, after which the tomato products reach the shelf at regional branches of all well-known chains.
In terms of production volume, the Lyterno is the most important variety of the Emsland Gemüse cultivation.
Despite the steady expansion of vegetable production, the consequences of climate change are obviously also noticeable in Emsland. In 2018, the water tank was completely used up for the first time.
At present, there is a boom in the huge greenhouse complex on the German-Dutch border, as this is the middle of the main season, which usually runs from week 22 to 32-33. "At the end of June, demand was generally high, but because of the holiday season and the weather, sales are currently declining somewhat," reports Schütze.
The tomato varieties of Emsland Gemüse are not a mass product: they are flavored tomatoes. "We put a lot of emphasis on sustainability, so we work with a closed water cycle and organic substrate, paying particular attention to smooth quality management and a tasty end product."
The individual heating pipes can move up and down electrically.
Gradual extension of the domestic season
"In the long run, there are also some interesting tendencies to observe," Schütze says. "Several years ago, we believed the Lyterno would be less in demand. Contrary to expectation, however, sales have remained fairly stable ever since. In general, we are planning to extend the season by 4 to 6 weeks so that we can still harvest by the end of November. However, this is not possible every year due to too little light and the goods sometimes being overripe by the end of November."
Emsland Gemüse employs seasonal workers from several countries, like Poland, Romania and the Ukraine. Parallel to the steady extension of the season, many foreign employees are now staying in Germany for several months a year. As part of this, the management has decided to build a hotel with approx. 150 2-person units at the main location of parent company Emsflower.
For more information:
TB Emsland Gemüse GmbH
Tel. +49 5903 93553-288