From now on, Brandenburg will have an efficient peeling plant for the processing of organic potatoes. GEKO Uckermärkische Fruchthandels LLC has had its existing processing plant in Klosterwalde near Templin certified for this purpose. As a result, the company can now offer regionally produced and processed goods for school caterers and other commercial kitchens. The concept of regionality is also clear: The potatoes come from Brandenburg production, they are processed in Brandenburg and cross only when delivering to Berlin the border of the state.
In addition to the potato peeling plant, whose daily capacity is currently around 12 tonnes, the vegetable processing plant is also certified organic. Organic hokkaido pumpkins from the Erz farm and other organic vegetables from Brodowin eco-village are currently being processed for large kitchens. After a successful test run, goods are now available, and if the demand is there next season, they will come in larger quantities. Large Berlin consumers -especially school caterers- had complained for a long time that they would like to use regional goods, but that these would not be available in the required preprocessed state (peeled, cut). The new value chain is a start, and can be expanded in the coming months and years.
For Heinz-Peter Frehn (Biohof Schoeneiche in Spreewald), who currently supplies quality potatoes for be peeled at GEKO, the price for his tubers is fair and adequate. The farmer has only tentatively started the cultivation of organic potatoes this year with 10 ha and the three varieties Belana, Linda and Queen Anne. This first season's harvest already made him very happy and he wants to expand the cultivation significantly. Sufficient land and efficient technology are available, a modern potato warehouse is soon to follow.
All this was made possible by the activities of the Operational Group (OG) within the framework of the EIP project "Regional Organic Vegetables from Brandenburg", which co-ordinates the FÖL as Lead Partner and scientifically supports the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde. The project has begun to improve the low availability of regional Brandenburg organic goods. It is the OG condition that farmers receive a fair price for their regional produce.
Buyers of peeled Brandenburg organic potatoes and processed organic pumpkins from the test run are the members of Schulcaterer Schildkröte, Handfest and Greens Unlimited Berlin. Their canteen kitchens are exemplary pioneers in terms of regionalism. The managing director of Greens Unlimited, Susan Rhattigan: "Regional ingredients have always been very important to us. But so often we came to the limits of availability. Now we are looking forward to being able to rely clearly on regional goods in the future and are prepared to accept the low additional price. That's because we know who generated the goods and support organic farming and processing plants on our own doorstep."
GEKO Managing Director Matthias Greif adds: "We are making progress, and finally we can meet the repeatedly articulated wish of the Berlin school caterers for completely regional organic products from Brandenburg in high quality at an attractive price. Since we also have high-performance logistics in Berlin-Brandenburg, we are optimally positioned for this promising market."
Significant increase Brandenburg organic cultivation expected
Gerald Köhler, who heads the project on the part of the FÖL, at first would not have dreamed that it would be possible in such a short time to close the often-criticized gap in regional supply. "We are proud of the entrepreneurial initiative of our companies and therefore also confident that we will see a significant increase in the Brandenburg organic cultivation of potatoes and vegetables in the next few years. In this way we will be able to increase the value added in the organic farming and processing plants and to keep them in the region. And for us, region usually means Brandenburg. Of course, after the successful trial run with the producers Erz farm, Biohof Schöneiche and Ökodorf Brodowin the other project members will be included as well. "
On EIP project "Regional organic vegetables from Brandenburg"
The EIP project runs from 2018-2022 and would like to significantly expand the cultivation and supply of Brandenburg organic potatoes and vegetables. Coordinated by the Fördergemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau Berlin-Brandenburg eV (FÖL) e.V. and scientifically supported by the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, 18 agricultural companies have joined forces to develop the Berlin market together. More information: http://www.biogemuese-brandenburg.de
The project is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and co-financed by the State of Brandenburg.