This year's outdoor harvest is now in full swing on the Aargau fields of the Max Schwarz vegetable farm. Every week, tons of iceberg lettuce, bunched onions and the like are harvested and delivered to the Swiss food retail trade. The Corona crisis has had a rather positive effect on the demand for open field products in the trade, says manager Toni Suter.
Packed directly in the field and then vacuum-cooled, iceberg lettuce always retains its freshness a little longer.
Since the end of April, fresh heads of iceberg lettuce have been harvested from the field, packaged and vacuum-cooled immediately afterwards. Within some 20 minutes after harvesting, the goods are cooled down to 2 degrees, a rare procedure in Switzerland. "The yields are very good this year, even above last year's level. As a producer, we are also quite satisfied with the current market situation in terms of prices," explains Suter.
Since the end of April, there has been a high level of activity in the Max Schwarz Gemüsebau lettuce fields.
In addition to this, the market is registering an exceptionally high demand for domestic iceberg lettuce despite -or thanks to- Corona. "The demand has been continuously high and stable so far, and the promotions in the trade have also been very well received. In recent years, demand has been falling by 2-3 percent year on year. This year the situation has been completely reversed: Corona has thus interrupted the negative trend for iceberg lettuce for the time being."
The lettuce is marketed to selected wholesalers in Switzerland under the private label Fresh from the Field.
Bottleneck for bunches of onions
In addition to the lettuce, Max Schwarz Gemüsebau mainly serves Migros branches throughout Switzerland as well as selected wholesale customers and processors with dew-fresh outdoor and greenhouse vegetables (such as leeks, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers and lamb's lettuce). "We are quite strong in bunched onions. This year, the available production volume is barely sufficient to meet the demand in the trade, but the prices remain the same because in Switzerland, mainly fixed annual prices are applied. In general, domestic onions are gaining in importance from year to year."