Enza Zaden, Enkhuizen, Netherlands, says its SweetGreen greenhouse-grown pepper should be in stores beginning in March 2009.
Courtesy The Perishables Group
(Web Editorâs note: This article features extended coverage of a story we first posted on the site on Oct. 3)
(Oct. 6, 11:04 a.m.) Enza Zaden, a Netherlands-based seed company, plans to introduce a green bell pepper it claims to be the sweetest on the market at the Produce Marketing Associationâs Fresh Summit in Orlando, Fla.
The SweetGreen pepperâs American debut will also be its world debut, said Arnold Reijers, business development manager for Enza Zaden.
âThe American interest and potential we see first,â Reijers said. âIn the American market, the green blocky type still dominates.â
Reijers said green bell peppers do not have nearly as much demand as other colors in Europe and other parts of the world.
The greenhouse-grown pepper is different from a normal green bell pepper in many ways, he said. It has higher natural sugar content â at least one level of brix higher than a regular green bell pepper.
âWe didnât expect that, but it was very good results,â Reijers said.
The pepper is also picked at maturity and maintains its green color. Most green bell peppers are just immature red peppers that get sweeter as they mature and turn red.
Three growers in the Leamington, Ontario, area are producing this pepper, Reijers said. Meanwhile, commercial field trials have begun in Mexico and should be ready for harvest by November. Reijers said field trials in Canada started taking place three years ago.
âThe Canadian growers are the initiators of the Mexican SweetGreen pepper,â Reijers said, referring to the new Mexican growing program for this variety. âThey want to be able to supply year-round.â
Reijersâ hope for this pepper is for it to eventually be a main variety included in the stoplight packages of bell peppers, which feature one each of the red, green and yellow varieties.
âWith the stoplight, it never turns from green to red, so you wonât ever end up with two reds and a yellow,â Reijers said.
Reijers said the next step is developing a SweetGreen variety for the open field, although that wonât be ready for several years.