Two years ago, Lower Saxony farmers Jonas Rantze and Carsten Warnecke decided to join forces and grow garlic together. Since then, 'Heideknoblauch' has become a firmly established brand in the North German trade. Especially in times of Corona, the domestic fresh, green garlic is particularly sought after, they note with satisfaction.
Fresh garlic in 5kg cardboard crates for the regional market
Harvesting in Dedelstorf in Lower Saxony has been going on for about a week now: The fresh garlic from the Lüneburger Heide is harvested and processed by hand before the goods are delivered to regional retail outlets or partners at the Hamburg wholesale market. "We too are obviously struggling with the drought, although our locations are equipped with appropriate irrigation systems. Harvesting is still going according to plan, but the next 10 days will be decisive for the rest of the season," Warnecke says.
Fresh garlic: regional and unique
The fresh garlic has a diameter of approximately 5 cm and can be distinguished from its dried equivalent by its green stalk. Warnecke: "Normally we would supply the markets with fresh goods until August and deliver dried garlic directly afterwards. However, if sales continue as planned, we will be completely sold out at the end of the fresh season this year and will not supply dried goods."
The fresh garlic is usually slightly smaller than the imported product (at least 60 grams) and has a diameter of around 5 cm. / picture: Heideknoblauch
According to Warnecke, the Corona-crisis hardly affected the garlic market. "If so, then only in a positive way, because the consumer is now paying more attention to regional products." Due to the freshly harvested quality, heather garlic has an additional added value compared to the mostly dried imported goods. "In the fresh sector we don't have to fight against cheap imports from China. In addition, we do not have long transport routes to the sales market and we have an attractive, regional product concept. "We are not just supplying garlic, but a complete, appealing brand."
Recognition value on the market
The garlic is usually packed loose in 5kg cardboard crates and then delivered to regional markets. At the beginning, however, it was difficult to win new customers for the concept, Warnecke explains. "We drove to the wholesale market ourselves and presented our product and brand to the local traders. That way we were able to win a few permanent partners for the concept. Our goal is not to serve everyone, because we want to keep a certain exclusivity at all costs."
Thanks to the sustainable packaging in cardboard crates and the eye-catching company logo, the Heideknoblauch brand has gained a high recognition value on the market within just three years.
Future: Fine-tuning the cultivation technique
Three varieties are cultivated on a total of about 2 ha: Depending on demand, the capacity could be successively expanded over the next few years. "For the time being, we plan to invest in marketing, storage and cultivation technology. Because the garlic itself grows and thrives, the planting technique and fine tuning of the cultivation process is the next step. We are not yet perfect in production, but we do have the ambition to become better."