Over the years, freshly cut domestic herbs have gained a high status in the German specialized trade. Parsley, chives, basil, etc. are becoming more and more popular both in the wholesale and the retail trade. However, the current closure of the hospitality industry has a noticeable effect on wholesale sales, says Nicole Kiemle, managing director of the nursery of the same name.
Similar to the first lockdown in the spring, the current volume demand for some varieties has dropped significantly, according to Ms. Kiemle, who sells a substantial part of her income via the Stuttgart wholesale market. "Standard varieties such as rocket, parsley and chives are running as usual. Sales of more unusual varieties - such as coriander, basil or mint - have slumped by 50 to 60 percent in some cases."
Nicole Kiemle runs the family business as a 4th generation manager / Picture: Gärtnerei Kiemle
In addition to its own stand sales at the wholesale market, the family business also delivers some of its goods directly to the food retail trade. Kiemle: "In this sector we are seeing a slight increase in sales. But also in this area it is mainly the standard herbs that are well received. Consumers don't really know what to do with the more exotic varieties, which is why the quantity of herbs sold in the retail trade is significantly lower."
Fresh basil from domestic production / Picture: Gärtnerei Kiemle
Fresh herbs for Christmas
The pre-Christmas period is also a time of high turnover for the Kiemle nursery every year. "Currently we assume that we will be able to deliver the majority of our variety selection by Christmas. This year we have also noticed that customers increasingly prefer local products."
A delivery vehicle of the company / Picture: Gärtnerei Kiemle
The traditional company cultivates herbs in both open-air and in greenhouses. This enables the company to offer fresh, local herbs almost twelve months a year. "Demand in the trade is always present, especially for standard herbs." Not only the year-round availability, but also the product packaging is decisive, especially for the herbs. "For retail, we package our herbs mainly in 30g punnets. Most of our bundled herbs are packed in boxes of 20. But we are open to new, sustainable packaging alternatives."