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Carsten Abenhardt at the season start for Naturland zucchini:

"We are encountering a receptive market with no excess supply from Southern Europe"

At the early, fleece-covered facilities of Abenhardt company, the first organic zucchinis of this season could be harvested already in week 22. From week 23/24, larger quantities will be available for both the organic specialty trade and the regular retail grocery trade, expects Managing Director Carsten Abenhardt. "Although we lacked sunlight hours so far, we could compensate for this with fleece covering and planting in 5cm pots. We are growing three batches on a total of 60 hectares, about a third of which is under fleece cover. Due to the high demand for regional organic zucchinis, there has also been a slight increase in area compared to last year."

The starting situation for the early Naturland zucchinis from local cultivation is quite good. Abenhardt: "In recent years, we have repeatedly had the problem that, in particular, the Spaniards have tried to market their surplus at the end of the season at low prices, thus extending their season. This will definitely not be the case this year. According to retail information, the supply of Southern European imports is already coming to an end. Therefore, the goods are meeting a receptive market at an entry price about 15 percent above last year's level. This helps us to absorb the still rising costs along the value chain."

Wrapped organic zucchinis. Abenhardt expects a price reduction starting in early July.

The supposed purchasing restraint for organic products has somewhat normalized from the perspective of the Naturland producer. "With our crops of zucchini, carrots, and pumpkins, we are in the price entry segment. These are regionally produced foods that remain attractively priced and thus have a right to exist, especially since they can also compete with the conventional counterpart due to the packaging. This may be different for higher-priced organic products with correspondingly higher production costs. However, we have noticed that sales have shifted more from the organic specialty trade towards the regular retail grocery trade. This has no major impact on us, as we produce according to demand and flexibly adapt to the wishes of the respective purchaser."

Organic zucchinis are expected to be available until week 40. Since last season, Abenhardt has been focusing on three batches and on planting instead of sowing.

Fully Automatic Weighing and Banding Machine
As an innovative vegetable farming operation, the Datteln-based company is not only focused on mechanizing production but also the processing and packaging processes. "Since this year, we have been using a fully automatic weighing and banding machine. Thanks to this investment, we can now process up to 100 packages per minute. This represents an increase in output of about 30 percent, but more importantly, it has allowed us to increase the precision and efficiency in weighing."

Meanwhile, this year's carrot season is in its final stages. "We have been through with last year's storage carrots since the beginning of May and are now relying on imports from Spain and, since this week, also Southwest France. From week 25, we will slowly start the new harvest in our early facilities. Lately, the supply quantity was rather limited, but with additional imports from France, availability is somewhat increasing again. The growing conditions in Germany have been predominantly good so far, with sufficient rainfall. Therefore, we are confident that the planned cultivation quantities will grow well in terms of quality," concludes Abenhardt.

Images: Abenhardt GmbH & Co. KG

For more information:
Carsten Abenhardt
Abenhardt GmbH & Co. KG
Markfelder Stra├če 15
D - 45711 Datteln
Phone +49 (0) 2363 / 3659870
Fax +49 (0) 2363 / 8362
Email: [email protected]

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