In week 21, the first tunnel raspberries of this year's season could be harvested at Obsthof Spinner in Oberkirch. "We started a few days later than last year, but the stands and budding are all very nice. Overall, we are expecting quite a bountiful yield of both raspberries and strawberries this year, due to the ideal growing conditions in recent weeks," says owner Karl-Wendelin Spinner, who produces strawberries on about 15 hectares - 50 percent of which are in the tunnel - and complementary raspberries in the traveling tunnel.
Crisp tunnel raspberries from the Renchtal for direct marketing
The strawberry harvest in the tunnel will be finished in a few days, after which they will seamlessly start the outdoor harvest, Spinner describes. "About 50 percent of our strawberry yield is marketed through our own stands. In addition, we supply our produce directly to selected food retail outlets and to Fruitfels, a sister company of the Frutania Group. The raspberries, on the other hand, we market exclusively on our own. It must be said that the raspberry is a difficult product compared to the strawberry, which nowadays can be found in the grocery stores 12 months a year from all over the world. A German strawberry, on the other hand, is still valued as such during the season. In this respect, raspberries have lost some of their seasonality over time, which is why the producer prices are usually no longer adequate. This makes raspberry cultivation rather difficult for the pure trade structure. In direct marketing as well as local Edeka stores, on the other hand, regional cultivation is valued accordingly."
Regional raspberries in cardboard trays. Due to increased production costs, the fruits are priced slightly above last year's level.
Protected cultivation of raspberries originated about ten years ago. Spinner: "We were already producing free-range raspberries and the demand was always there. In order to be able to offer our customers consistent quality, we then planted an old strawberry tunnel with raspberries. Since then, raspberries have established themselves primarily as a great runner and a good addition to our product line." The marketing window for the raspberries is relatively short, usually lasting until early July, he said. Then, from early August until deep into October, the remontant fall raspberries are offered, but they are not comparable in quantity to the summer raspberries, he said.
Anna-Franziska, Christine and Karl-Wendelin Spinner are together the head of the fruit farm.
Product diversity is the key
The high product variety distinguishes the Oberkirch fruit farm, the owner continues. In addition to apples, soft fruit, plums and pumpkins, the Spinner family specializes in growing specialty crops. "No later than the beginning of week 23, we start the cherry harvest with the Sweet Early variety. Our cherries are harvested immediately as soon as they are ripe for picking, no weather protection is used. Sweet cherries are available until the beginning of July, so we do not offer the classic late varieties, such as Regina, at all. From September on, we harvest table grapes from our own cultivation which we also offer exclusively in direct marketing."
After taking over a mixed farm in 1968, the family business developed into a specialized fruit-growing operation. The fruit produced in-house was initially marketed through OGM Oberkirch, says Karl-Wendelin Spinner, who is the second generation to run the fruit farm. "Since this year, we have been marketing our strawberries through Fruitfels, which in turn is part of the Frutania Group. I feel that I am in good hands as a grower in this structure. Our growing region is clearly changing and I believe that with this structure we are on the right track."
Images: Obsthof Spinner
Zusenhofener Str. 19
Telefon: +49 (0) 78 05 91 00 09