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Small vegetable breeder specializes in pointed peppers and black tomato variety

"We are a small company and have been breeding vegetable seeds commercially for about six years now," says Jacob Van Den Bosch of Van Den Bosch Seeds in British Columbia, Canada. The father-son owned company considers itself a small player in the world of vegetable seeds, highly specializing in pointed peppers. "About 80 percent of our business comes from the pointed snack pepper market. We are small, and to be able to go up against the large companies, we need to be fairly specialized to stay effective," Van Den Bosch said. For that reason, it was decided to focus on a high-value product.

Shift to Mexico
The company is mainly involved in the low-tech and mid-tech markets. "We feel this is where we are able to make a difference." In recent years, production of this pepper segment has mostly shifted from Canada to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Within Mexico, Sinaloa, Guanajuato, Sonora, and Jalisco are key states for the cultivation of sweet peppers. "Although we have some seeds in trial in Canada this year, overall, it has become too expensive to grow in the U.S. and Canada," Van Den Bosch shared. High labor costs in particular have caused a shift to Mexico and that's where the majority of Van Den Bosch's growers are based. "While Mexico grows great quality produce at great pricing, it's not without obstacles. At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty around the availability of water, which may affect our growers."

Left: pointed snack peppers. Right: Mavros, black cherry tomato.

Black tomato variety
In addition to pointed snack peppers, the company will shortly introduce a black 25 gram cherry tomato named Mavros (previously ST307). "This variety is a difference maker," says Ben Van Den Bosch, Jacob's son. "On the vine, it starts out green and then ripens black." However, underneath the calyx, the tomato has a red color. It's a specialty variety that is receiving a lot of interest from growers in North America. It has been tested in pre-introduction trials for 2.5 years, and will be commercially available later this year. It is already commercially available with smaller areas of the black tomato variety being grown in Canada. In addition, a number of trials are taking place in Ontario as well as in the U.S.

How does a small player like Van Den Bosch Seeds compete with the large and well-known vegetable breeding companies? "We like to think we are very personable and offer additional services that other companies don't bring to the table," Ben said. "For the past six months, we have been working with a crop consultant who provides our grower-customers with advice around propagation, fruit set, picking, etc." In addition, Van Den Bosch Seeds is fairly confident in the germination rate of their seeds. "We guarantee our customers that they end up with the number of germinated plants they ordered. If not, we offer the extra plants at no cost."

Jacob and Ben will be attending CPMA later this month. Interested in meeting up? See their contact information below.

Team Van Den Bosch Seeds at GreenTech Americas last month. From left to right: Jacob Van Den Bosch, Leopoldo Vargas Uribe, Ben Van Den Bosch, and Luis Arturo Hernandez.

For more information:
Jacob and Ben Van Den Bosch
Van Den Bosch Seeds
Tel: (+1) 604-996-9420
[email protected]
[email protected]