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Tobias Mann at the season opener for Altes Land greenhouse strawberries:

"Even after Easter, the price situation can be called quite positive"

In week 12, the first greenhouse strawberries of this year's season were harvested at the sustainable greenhouse of Mann Fruit Farm in Buxtehude, Northern Germany. Following the commissioning of the new glasshouse facility last year, this marks the second harvest season. "Last year, in the first half of the season, we picked the Sonsation variety. This year, we are focusing on the Malling Centenary variety as a continuous crop, which we will offer until the start of our tunnel strawberry harvest in May," says owner Tobias Mann. The purpose of this strategy is to gather experience to determine which variety is best suited for cultivation.

Despite the predominantly gray weather, the quality of the produce has been particularly good, Mann continues. "We are mostly harvesting large, firm fruit. Accordingly, I would describe the current prices as stable, roughly comparable to last year's price level. It should also be mentioned that the demand for early regional strawberries, due to the early Easter, was quite high, which in turn has kept prices at a consistent level. The price situation after Easter can be called quite positive."

According to Mann, the gloomier weather also results in only a slight marketing pressure. "We can pick relatively relaxed, while the fruits have a bit more time to ripen, which in turn benefits the quality and fruit size. According to the weather forecast, the weather will continue to be moderate for the time being. Therefore, we are confident that there will be a normal ripening process in the coming weeks."

Regional greenhouse strawberries enjoy great popularity
Overall, Mann looks back on a successful first harvest year in the new greenhouse. "We made a big marketing push, which contributed to the demand being greater than the supply. The response was overwhelming in all areas, whether in retail, weekly market trade, or direct marketing. Under the new "GlüXbeere" brand, we supply greenhouse strawberries to retail stores. Other packaging options such as cardboard, EPS, or wooden crates are also possible."

Even though the German greenhouse strawberry is gaining importance, the total production volumes are still limited. This was also the initial spark for the Altes Land fruit producer to build a modern greenhouse and produce the needed greenhouse goods in-house. "We repeatedly found that we could not supply ourselves with German products on the trade level, especially in the early segment, as the few producers that existed needed their goods for their own marketing. Therefore, it remains a niche culture."

After the completion of the outdoor harvest at the end of July-beginning of August, the second harvest in the greenhouse is expected to start, which usually lasts until early October. This year, the Elsanta variety will be offered as an autumn strawberry.

Not only the regional origin but also sustainable, resource-conserving production is a priority in the 1.5ha-large greenhouse. The greenhouse facility has a wood chip power plant, fertilizer recycling, and a water circulation system. "When we give tours of the farm, many are surprised by how sustainable it is here, as many still associate under-glass cultivation with industry. Sustainability is appreciated by customers and reflected in the price. At the same time, production costs have risen again compared to last year. Here, it is important to further increase the efficiency of our operational processes."

For more information:
Tobias Mann
Früchte Mann
Apenser Str. 200
21614, Buxtehude
Tel.: +49 4161 558542
[email protected]

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