Breeders create vegetables for snacking

03/24/2011 05:17:52 PM
Ashley Bentley

New product innovations are happening all over the seed industry, but they seem to be especially prevalent in what producers call snacking vegetables.

Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta AG, also offers what it calls a sweet baby broccoli, a hybrid that has a long stem and smaller head. The entire stem of the broccoli is meant to be eaten, and is sweeter than conventional varieties, Andreas Steiner, director of marketing.

Two new varieties of tomato, Amadoro and Premadoro, are just starting to be commercially available, Steiner said. The tomatoes hit the market for the first time in test markets two years ago.

Amadoro is a date-shaped, very aromatic tomato, while Premadoro is a round tomato. The Angelle, meanwhile, was recognized at Berlin’s Fruit Logistica for an Innovation Award.

De Lier, Netherlands-based Rijk Zwaan recently introduced the Brioso tomato, a greenhouse cocktail tomato that was a follow-up to the Amoroso. The company plans to unveil a few new European-type tomatoes within the year, said Gretchen Raymond, NAFTA manager.

The company’s U.S. subsidiary is Rijk Zwaan USA Inc., Salinas, Calif.

Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Sakata Seed America Inc.’s new Amai grape tomatoes are bred for their rich deep red color and good flavor, as well as the plant’s ability to produce a uniform shape and size throughout the production cycle, said Atlee Burpee, senior product manager and Eastern sales manager.

Amai is suitable for indoor or outdoor production, he said.

Sakata also is marketing a new variety of broccoli seed, Green Gold. It is ideal for crown-cut and short-trim markets, as the broccoli has a smooth, heavy dome, Burpee said.

San Diego-based Ahern International is ramping up production on a few varieties that were available only on a limited basis this past year.

In cucumbers, it has the new Corinto and Macario varieties, both meant to mature a week earlier than other varieties to give the grower access to better market conditions, and to product up to 20% more fruit than other varieties, said Ana Maria Cota, saleswoman for west Mexico and Arizona.

Its Pascola and Jacobo varieties of zucchini sold out last year during their first limited-availability season, so the company ramped up seed production for this season. Both varieties also offer grower benefits, including a disease resistance package and higher yield.

Ahern International also is launching the Fascinato greenhouse bell pepper in commercial production this year, Cota said.

Feasterville, Pa.-based Abbott & Cobb Inc.’s patented and trademarked Summer Sweet sweet corn also is available on larger quantities this year as it continues to be rolled out, said Lisa Zaglin, marketing director.

“Summer Sweet seed features stronger germ and vigor, equaling better stands for excellent yields of very high quality, tender sweet corn,” Zaglin said.



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