Parallel to the steadily growing consumption of sweet potatoes, the cultivation of these sweet tubers in Germany is also booming. This creates an interesting niche for seed and young plant suppliers in commercial horticulture. The Münster-based Volmary company has recognised the sweet potato trend for itself and has been offering commercial farmers a steadily growing catalogue of varieties under the "Erato" label for over 5 years, according to company spokesman Manuel Scheuring.
As he is every year, the seed and young plant specialist was also represented at this year's expoSE Karlsruhe. In 2018, FreshPlaza spoke with Mr Scheuring about the modern pumpkin variety Amoro. This year the Volmary management started a new breeding program, with some interesting innovations. In addition to their announcement of a new partnership with the Austrian Multikraft group - specialists in microorganisms and sustainable yield increase - the company's extended range of varieties was was given particular importance.
Planned expansion to 10-15 varieties
Volmary LLC is focusing specifically on the cultivation of rarities in Germany: the latest varieties in the expanded catalogue include Peruvian wood sorrel and Inca roots. The aim is to provide the commercial farmer with suitable and high-quality seeds. The company's most important development area, however, is sweet potato cultivation. "Our Erato product line currently contains seven high-quality varieties, of various colours. We have set ourselves the task of expanding this range to 10-15 varieties in the coming years."
Manuel Scheuring advises and supports customers in Southern Germany. At this year's ExpoSE he informed customers and interested parties about new varieties from Volmary LLC. The picture shows the already established sweet potato Erato Deep Orange.
Erato Deep Orange
The company is already working with the "bigger players" in German and Austrian sweet potato cultivation. Its customers include a number of companies in northern Germany (Lüneburger Heide), Bavaria and Lindenhof (currently 18 hectares of sweet potato area) near Vienna. "Based on the feedback so far, we have found that the Erato Deep Orange -depending on the soil type- has the greatest potential of the established varieties we have been working with." The white-fleshed Erato Gusto variety is also very popular: "This sweet potato enjoys good marketing opportunities, especially with regard to upscale gastronomy. This is due to its sweet, nutty aroma," says Scheuring.
Ongoing variety trials
One of the biggest challenges in sweet potato cultivation are the storage conditions that can be created for domestic tubers. The Volmary company is already endeavouring to supply storable varieties for commercial cultivation. "We are currently testing a number of varieties and we hope that the cultivation of these varieties in Germany will lead to some very positive test results."
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