The harvest of the first spring onions in the Palatinate is currently underway, coinciding with the meteorological start of spring. Since the beginning of March - and thus about a week earlier than the average of previous years - freshly harvested spring onions have been harvested in Germany's largest outdoor cultivation area for fresh vegetables.
With a cultivation area of 2,000 to 2,500 hectares, leek onions as early starters in the vegetable garden Palatinate are among the absolute trendsetters for freshness from the region! During harvesting, the plants are pulled out of the ground whole. A delicate touch is important here. Leek onions from the Palatinate are a real superfood, which thanks to the unbeatable freshness contains particularly many valuable ingredients. / Pictures: "Vegetable Garden Palatinate"
Up to 2,500 hectares of cultivation area for the first fresh vegetables from local cultivation
Whether on bread and butter, in sauces or as a delicately spicy addition to salads, spring onions bring freshness and zing to any kitchen and lend a special flavor to numerous dishes. With a cultivation area of 2,000 to 2,500 hectares, the early starters in the Palatinate vegetable garden are among the absolute trendsetters for freshness from the region! Also often referred to as winter or spring onions, the ground-grown vegetables from the Palatinate are traditionally the first fresh vegetables from German open-air cultivation.
Palatinate ends market- and price-dominating monopoly of foreign produce
The start of harvesting in the Palatinate marks the end of the market- and price-dominating monopoly position that foreign fresh vegetables from open-air cultivation held for seasonal reasons. All suppliers in the food retail trade - and with them also the nationwide consumers - have from now on again quite simply the possibility to enjoy unrivaled quality and freshness. Alternatively, they can - little sustainable - still buy in many places "fresh produce" from North Africa, which travels over thousands of kilometers, sometimes up to a week by ship and truck transport to Germany.
A superfood that contains valuable ingredients thanks to unrivaled freshness
Leek onions from the Palatinate are a real superfood, which thanks to the short distances and unbeatable freshness ensures particularly many valuable ingredients. Compared to normal onions, for example, spring onions contain more than twice as much vitamin C. Secondary plant compounds and dietary fiber are also present in large quantities, which is why spring onions can also have a fundamental anti-inflammatory effect. And in addition, it also has a particularly positive effect on intestinal fitness.
Short distances ensure that spring onions arrive ultra-fresh
During harvesting, the plants are pulled out of the ground whole. A delicate touch is important here. Leaves and tops discolored by the cold winter are removed by hand. Depending on customer requirements and weight specifications, five to eight spring onions are usually bundled directly in the field. From here, they are transported by the fastest route to the growers' farms, where the crisp-fresh bundles are washed and cut to the usual marketing length of 32 cm and then packed in reusable crates. Ideally, the freshly harvested spring onions - just one or two hours later - are on their way to the fruit and vegetable departments of supermarkets nationwide via refrigerated transport.
Spring onions that are now being harvested in the Palatinate region - which is also known as Germany's vegetable garden - were already sown with a time lag from August last year. Because spring onions in Germany's climatically particularly favored southwest are traditionally sown until the onset of the first winter frosts, growers specializing in leek cultivation in the Palatinate vegetable garden can be the first to ensure a continuous supply to nationwide grocery stores until late in the year.
Harvest outlook: "As of now, they are actually getting more beautiful every day!"
Dieter Stubenbordt, Bundzwiebel pioneer from Zeiskam says: "The winter onion stocks in Gemüsegarten Pfalz have come through the winter well. As of now, they are actually getting more beautiful every day!" The harvest period, the spring onions grown in the Palatinate over the winter months is expected to continue into June. In the Palatinate, the cultivation of bunch onions is in season almost all year round. Following the winter onions, summer onions are cultivated. In June, their harvest usually overlaps with the harvest finale of the winter onions. Depending on the weather, they are then fresh from the Pfalz vegetable garden until the end of the outdoor season in October or November.
Up to 350 million bunch onions: "From now on, they're actually getting more beautiful every day!"
The first spring onions were cultivated in the Pfalz vegetable garden in 1986. Since then, cultivation has expanded and become more professional. According to estimates, up to 350 million bunch onions can be grown in the region over the season these days. The fact that around 80 percent of Germany's cultivation takes place in the particularly mild climate of the Palatinate underscores the special role and importance that this growth cluster for freshly harvested fruit and vegetables, which is unique in Germany, plays in Germany's sustainable supply.
Cultivation is under politically induced cost pressure
Since 2022, cultivation in the Palatinate vegetable garden has also been subject to politically induced cost pressure. The legally imposed increase in the minimum wage by the German government - from 9.82 euros on January 1, 2022 to 12 euros from October 1, 2022 - makes labor-intensive bundled produce particularly expensive. Added to this are war- and inflation-related cost increases for energy, machine parts and fertilizer, which make cultivation about 50 percent more expensive for growers. Instead of promoting fruit and vegetables that are particularly healthy because they are grown locally and sustainably in Germany - especially in terms of security of supply - the exact opposite is happening.
Fresh and healthy: spring onions remain a treat that everyone can afford!
During the season, the high-performance producer farms from the Pfalz vegetable garden supply LEH and nationwide consumers with top freshness that can really only be compared to growing your own in your home garden! It is obvious that domestic fruit and vegetable cultivation makes an important contribution to security of supply and adequate prices, for example by reducing dependence on foreign suppliers.
Actively countering high freight rates and water shortages in southern Europe
Anyone who concludes that fair and adequate producer prices inevitably lead to higher consumer prices is underestimating the market situation and how prices for fruit and vegetables are made. As freight costs for refrigerated transport from abroad have become extremely expensive and southern Europe is suffering from water shortages, domestic producers - and with them their partners in the food retail sector as well as consumers nationwide - will benefit from these developments.
"We should ensure a clear framework in Germany that finally values domestic fruit and vegetable production and also supports and promotes it more comprehensively in terms of sales and sustainable freshness education. The valuable and health-preserving ingredients that FRESH VEGETABLES from domestic cultivation have for us as a society are a value that has relevance and significance far beyond the store checkout," says Dr. Christian Stoermer, Managing Director of Gemüsegarten Pfalz Management Ltd.
For more information:
Pfalzmarkt für Obst und Gemüse eG
Neustadter Str. 100
Tel.: 06231 / 408-0
Fax: 06231 / 408-222