Nunhems, the vegetable seeds subsidiary of BASF, is holding a new edition of its Lettuce and Spinach Demofield in Cartagena (Murcia) on 10-14 February, where it will be showcasing its new types of lettuce and spinach. “We want to go one step further and not just rest on our laurels as a producer but also make the whole retail chain aware of the variety and versatility of different types of lettuce, offering another way of presenting and consuming this product,” explained Juan Pedro Pérez, Crop Sales Manager Salads EMEA at BASF Vegetable Seeds.
The novelty in the romaine lettuce segment is Magistral, a variety “with which we’re looking to increase crop profitability,” says Carlos del Espino, the lettuce specialist at BASF Vegetable Seeds. Thanks to its smaller size and weight and more uniform shape, Magistral is designed for high-density growing environments, thus increasing yield per hectare.
In the mini-romaine segment the company is introducing Winbee F1 (NUN 6549 F1), a variety recommended for spring growing with high resistance to tip burn. In this respect, Del Espino revealed that they are working to round off the annual cycle with a new variety for winter.
With a view to marketing in the Little Gem segment, the new variety from Nunhems for the winter is the NUN 6806 F1. With this variety, BASF’s vegetable seeds business is complementing Thicket F1 and Thespian F1, two very hardy and versatile varieties that round off the annual growing cycle. All of them are resistant to mildew and aphids.
Higher quality iceberg lettuces
The iceberg lettuce is one of the company’s hallmarks and its big showpiece in this segment, and this season it is introducing three new varieties: NUN 1212 F1, NUN 1228 F1 and NUN 1232 F1, for autumn, winter and spring respectively. “With these new varieties we are bringing even higher quality in terms of plant formation; these varieties are suitable for mechanized harvesting thanks to their uniform shape and we have even improved the post-harvest performance,” explains Del Espino, adding that they are also resistant to mildew and aphids. Nunhems is thus offering the sector a range of varieties that will help them to improve their yield per hectare.
These three varieties join Melosa F1, which has shown how well it adapts to summer growing, performing extremely well in terms of bolting and tip burn in extreme conditions, and Goldiva F1, which has performed well in January harvests thanks to its good plant formation, calibre and resistance in the field, allowing a wide harvesting window.
Concepts for consumers
Nunhems is taking steps in the lettuce market to attract consumers by introducing new concepts that put an emphasis on the clearly differentiating factors of certain varieties. An example of this is Themes F1 and Intred F1, respectively green and red Little Gems, offering retailers the chance to sell these products in twin packs that bring added colour to the traditional salad range. Meanwhile, NUN 06193 F1 and NUN 06567 F1 are two varieties that stand out for their sweeter flavour, while with Agros, Nunhems has demonstrated support for producers and other agents in the chain in terms of the growing need for harvest mechanization.
The new concept Chef’s Lettuce is designed for the hotel, restaurant and catering industry. With Greenglace and Rubyglace, among others, Nunhems is introducing different types of leaves for different sandwich formats. Meanwhile, the wrap is a lettuce whose leaves form a kind of spoon shape and can be used as a base for different cold or hot toppings. Crispol F1 is one of the varieties that falls within this concept.
“We have the products, and now we want to offer ideas and suggestions about how to use them in the kitchen,” says Juan Pedro Pérez.
Some of the new varieties include Formax F1, Sculptur F1 and Crater F1. From an agricultural point of view, all of them are resistant to mildew (1-17) and have a high tolerance to leaf spot.
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