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Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

SUNSET® Kumato™ named Best Tomato for Men

SUNSET® Kumato™ named Best Tomato for Men

What makes Kumato™ the King of tomatoes? Just ask Men’s Health Magazine, who’ve recently dubbed the SUNSET® tomato the best for men.

Introduced in 2010, SUNSET® Kumato™ brand tomatoes have quickly gained notoriety for their unique colour, perfect size, and well-balanced flavour. These non-GMO verified tomatoes naturally turn a reddish-brown colour at their peak ripeness.

“Kumato™ is one of SUNSET’s best selling signature brands,” stated CEO Paul Mastronardi. “We knew we had found an amazing product years ago because it was so unique looking and tasting. The Kumato™ is very balanced, not too acidic, with a mysterious and smoky flavour.”

In November’s issue, Men’s Health Magazine published their picks for the top 100 Best Foods for Men. The list includes healthy, flavourful, and easy to prepare products that were all taste-tested by the team at Men’s Health. SUNSET® Kumato™ tomatoes were selected for their sweet and tangy flavour, non-GMO verification, and because they can be enjoyed on their own or in a variety of dishes.

“At SUNSET®, we search the world for flavour,” continued Mastronardi. “We want to ensure that consumers enjoy our tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers as healthy foods that don’t need to be covered in dressings or dips; their flavour is best on its own. Being recognized by Men’s Health for that is a great honour.”

Why else should men be reaching for SUNSET® Kumato™ tomatoes? Tomatoes are a natural source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent certain diseases, such as prostate cancer. Movember, formerly known as November, is dedicated to raising awareness for men’s health, and is the perfect time to pick up a pack of Kumato™ tomatoes and try a new SUNSET® recipe.

Publication date: 11/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

“Spanish Intense tomato season started well”

Paul Zuiderwijk: conscious later start to connect to Dutch season
“Spanish Intense tomato season started well”

P. Zuijderwijk Import has started the import of Spanish Intense tomatoes for the fourth year in a row. The Nunhems plum tomatoes have a higher density than other tomatoes without losing shape or juice. The importer sells the tomatoes under the brand Roxy. “We consciously started later to connect to the Dutch season. Last year we were four weeks earlier and there were far too many. This helps no one,” concludes Paul Zuijderwijk.


“The season has only just started, but the sales are going well so far. There are still some Dutch tomatoes on the market. In a few weeks the volumes from Spain will increase further,” Paul Zuijderwijk expects. “We have them in the sizes M, MP and MM. The size sorting MM will still be available in limited amounts at the start. There are possibilities to make contracts until the end of April.”


For more information:
P. Zuijderwijk Import
Transportweg 45
2676 LM Maasdijk
Tel: 0031 174-520749
Mob: 0031 6-53372435
[email protected]

Publication date: 11/3/2014


FreshPlaza.com

US: Tomato prices steady with lull in supplies

After a summer of low prices for beefsteak tomatoes, prices for the commodity have risen as some states have finished harvesting. But prices could come down again as supplies pick up in Florida.

“This summer had one of the worst tomato markets I’ve seen,” said Greg Styers of Bejo Seeds. He pointed to high yields, spurred on by favorable weather, for the low prices. With so many tomatoes on the market, prices took a steep drop.

“Prices are good right now, but I knew of growers that couldn’t pick some of their tomatoes because of the market,” said Styers. He added that prices for a box of tomatoes is usually just below $ 20.00, but this summer brought prices as low as $ 4.50 for a box. It wasn’t until supplies from the Carolinas and Virginia dropped that prices began to climb. That upswing began in October, and Styers believes that current prices, which hover near $ 22.00 a box, will remain until the middle of November, when large supplies from Florida hit the market.

“Volumes from Florida should pick up sometime in the second week of November from Sarasota,” said Styers. “It’s hard to say how the market will be until then, because just a few inches of hard rain at the wrong time could transform a good season into a bad one.”

In addition to traditional beefsteak tomatoes, Bejo Seeds markets their own brand of Tasti-Lee tomatoes. The variety, developed by Dr. Jay Scott and licensed out of the University of Florida, is sold as a firmer, more colorful and tastier option to traditional tomatoes. The vine-ripened tomato also contains more lycopene than traditional varieties.

“We’re a seed company, and we generally breed our own tomatoes, but Tasti-Lee is so unique that we licensed it and have the exclusive rights to the seed and to the name,” said Styers. Bejo Seeds works with seven partners across the country who grow, pack and ship the product to retailers. That the variety can also be grown in a wide range of conditions also means Bejo Seeds partners are spread out all over the United States. That network has allowed them to put Tasti-Lee tomatoes in over 30 retail locations in the United States and Canada. The product has, so far, been well-received, and Styers credits the tomato’s taste, appearance and health content for that.

“This is a true vine-ripened tomato, and what sets it apart is that it has a consistent color and 50 percent more lycopene than most tomatoes,” said Styers. “I would put it up against any hothouse tomato.”

For more information:

Greg Styers

Bejo Seeds

+1 805 473 2199

FreshPlaza.com

Waitrose shares key elements for boosting the British tomato industry

Quality, availability, uniqueness and visibility for success:
Waitrose shares key elements for boosting the British tomato industry

“The British tomato industry has an amazing potential. However there are some points we could work on to make the industry even more successful.” said Waitrose’s Technical Manager Agronomy Alan Wilson at this year’s British Tomato Conference. Wilson listed some key elements that are of crucial importance for the development of the domestic market share for British tomatoes.

According to Wilson, the British tomatoes have a huge advantage in the competition, and that is their taste. “Quality is always the first for Waitrose, because that attracts customers. That’s one of the reasons why we are committed to British tomatoes long-term.” However, he also mentioned that the market share of British tomatoes in the whole United Kingdom is only around 20%. “Some work needs to be done!”


Alan Wilson of Waitrose at the British Tomato Conference last month.

“It is possible to change this number with some effort. Let’s take a look at the example of the strawberry market. Twenty-five years ago our strawberry production was deep down, the share of the British produce was 10%. Today in season it’s 98%!”

Wilson explained, that similarly to strawberries, also tomatoes should be more appreciated on the market. According to him, growers should engage customers and promote the fame of British tomatoes. They should speak up louder than ever before to be more visible. “This is crucial if we want a viable industry in ten years’ time”. During his presentation, Wilson praised the work of the Tomato Grower’s Association, which already has achieved a lot in the promotion of the British tomato.

Freshness can also play a key role for success. Growers should transport them as fast as possible. The best situation would be that we get the tomatoes in a Waitrose store just a few hours after harvest”, Wilson said to highlight the desire for a short chain.

“Another important issue is the variety-question”- according to Wilson, customers can get confused by the myriad of new types. “There is still room for a killer variety, which is absolutely unique. A variety, which is produced only in Britain. And we need it not for small niches but for mass production.”

Waitrose’ technical manager agronomy furthermore mentioned a year round production. ”A real break-through can be achieved by year-round production. I’m very grateful for the presentation of Philips at this year’s TGA Conference, because I truly think that lighting is the way forward for British tomatoes.”

Publication date: 10/21/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Mazet des Saveurs, the first French tomato grower using the Agrifast Tom-System

Mazet des Saveurs, the first French tomato grower using the Agrifast Tom-System

Mazet des Saveurs is a family owned business located in Maugio, close to Montpellier in France. They are specialist in producing high quality cherry and Coer de Boeuf tomatoes for local market

According to Frederic Garcia, owner of the company, despite the bad weather they are harvesting a very good tomato quality. Even tough, the prices are not going up during the last years whereas the production costs rise year by year in this way, and looking for reducing specially the labour costs, which are specially high in France, Mazet des Saveurs contacted Agrifast to try with the Tom System, the new tying tool which uses staples to tie the crop to the twine.

“We wanted to do a small trial but when we could experience the clipping speed, we decided to use it in the whole greenhouse,” says Mr. Garcia. “Now we are clipping at a speed of 1,500 plants/hour, whereas using plastic clips we could clip only at 800 plants/hour. This means a great labour saving. In addition, the quality is very good and there is not any damage to the plant.”

To see how the workers of Mazet des Saveurs clip their tomatoes at a speed of 1,500 plants/hour, watch the following video:

For more information:
Frederic Garcia
Mazet des Saveurs
[email protected]

Alberto Lizarraga
Agrifast
[email protected]
 

Publication date: 6/25/2013


FreshPlaza.com

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

Under the motto “An invitation to innovation”,  the British Tomato Grower’s Association Conference took place last week at the Chesford Grange Conference Centre in Warwick. The event, which took of on Wednesday with the annual TGA Dinner, attracted a wide audience from the industry ; from a large sum of tomato growers and horticulturists to industry body representatives, researchers, consultants and suppliers. This year the event attracted a record number of exhibitors and together with the varied and broad conference program, the TGA Conference again has proved to be the number one networking and educating event for greenhouse tomato industry in the United Kingdom. 

It is not a secret that the British greenhouse tomato growers form a very close greenhouse industry that is extremely supportive to each other. The growers are not afraid to share their knowledge and combine their forces to tackle problems, embrace new innovations. This in underlined by the TGA and their Annual conference; an event that further contributes to the efficiency of the British tomato industry and the position of the British tomato.

The conference speakers covered several technical, commercial and legislative issues as well as topics from the retail side of the industry. Together with an extended selection of exhibition booths, the conference was an excellent educational networking occasion.

In the coming weeks we will publish several articles on the topics that were discussed during the conference program. For now, please enjoy our photo report!

If you would like to obtain more information about the Tomato Growers Association or the TGA Conference, please contact:

For more information:
Tomato Growers Association
Julie Woolley 
[email protected]
www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Publication date: 9/26/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Tomato market strong, enters typical August scenario

It happens every year. August is the month that every homeowner with a garden becomes a tomato farmer, and many small farmers come out of the woodwork to supply their local farmers’ markets with an abundance of round red tomatoes or even heirloom varieties.

“We call it the dog days of August and this year we are starting to experience it a little early,” said Manny Gerardo, who works the sales desk at Bernardi & Associates Inc., in Nogales, AZ — a place he has worked for 25 years.

04-CalTom-CropPole-grown mature green tomatoes growing in Southern California.The veteran of the tomato wars was talking to The Produce News on July 29, two days before the so-called “dog days” officially begin.

“This year there doesn’t appear to be many weather problems across the country interfering with the home grown deals,” he said. “There has been a little cold weather in the Midwest, up around Michigan, but there are no big issues anywhere else.”

Typically, the year-round commercial growers, as well as brokers such as Bernardi, have to walk the tight rope of seeing their orders decline because of the home grown deals, yet they have to be ready when disasters strike and their customers need tomatoes.

“This year we thought that the green deal was going to be pretty strong because the lack of water in California has reduced the acreage about 20 percent,” said Gerardo. “But the market has been lower than it was last year.”

On this particular date in late July, he said a carton of extra large mature greens was $ 6 f.o.b., while large were at $ 5, and the mediums were selling for $ 4 per carton. Though that was less than last year, he said it was a bit better than a few weeks earlier.

Gerardo theorized that the high freight rates this summer have been impacting the tomato prices. “Right now truckers are getting $ 8,000 to haul from California to New York. They (customers) are paying almost as much for freight as for the product. The freight is $ 5 per carton and the market is $ 6 (on the largest sizes).”

On the other hand, the Bernardi salesman said the market on vine-ripe tomatoes out of San Diego has been pretty strong. “Right now it is $ 10-12 (per carton), which is pretty good.”

Gerardo said those tomatoes are coming from Baja California as well as from Oceanside, but the Oceanside deal is much less than it was just several years ago. After sitting out for a couple of years, the dominant Oceanside grower has come back but not with the acreage he had before.

“They are filling their own orders but don’t have much available (for outside brokers),” he said.

Bernardi is also sourcing from Mexican growers crossing through South Texas when there is a freight advantage to capitalize on because of the geographic location compared to the West Coast.

Looking down the road a bit, Gerardo is expecting fewer tomatoes from the West Mexico vegetable deal in the fall. Those tomatoes typically start in late September and run through the winter months. Currently, growers are in the deal making and planting phase.

“Last year it was a tough deal (because of the suspension agreement) and we think there are going to be less tomatoes, especially fewer Romas,” he said.

“We’ve talked to about half the guys who say they are going to plant the same but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. We think there is going to be more cukes, bells and squash because they had good markets last year.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US (CA): Heat throws off tomato picking, affects volumes

Warm weather in some of California’s tomato-growing regions has sped up harvesting of the tomato crop there. With accelerated maturation throwing off growers’ planning, the spurts and gaps in production have affected pricing.

“We had a good start to the season, and then the heat came along,” said Todd Giardina of The Dimare Company in Newman, California. “As conditions got hotter, the tomatoes grew faster.” Accelerated maturation threw off the timing of many growers, who typically harvest their tomatoes on a 90-day cycle. But warm weather brought on more supplies sooner than expected and could cause gaps in production later in the season. Giardina noted that the past three weeks have seen low prices, in the range of $ 3 to $ 5 per 25-pound case, which is lower than the $ 7 to $ 10 per case growers were seeing this time last year.

“The reason for the prices is that there’s too much product,” said Giardina. “The harvest has been pushed up, so there will be gaps and swings in production.”

For more information:

Todd Giardina

The DiMare Company

+1 209 862 2872

FreshPlaza.com

Spain: Tomato prices rising for the first time since April

Average tomato prices have increased for first time since mid-April, reaching close to 0.26 €/kg. Sales volumes are down by about 30% compared to the previous week, with the smooth, ribbed and on the vine varieties dropping the most in volume and experiencing the greater price increases.

The low prices received by growers since late April due to the market’s saturation has led to an early end of the campaign for many plantations. The month of May has left a very unfavourable balance for tomato growers, with sales volumes down by 20-30% compared to the same month of the 2012/13 campaign, and the average monthly price of the product approaching 0.22 €/kg, compared to the 0.42 €/kg obtained during the month of May last season.

Moroccan quota period

During week 22, Morocco exported a total of 2,305 tonnes of tomatoes to the EU at an average price of 33,40 €/100kg. Exports fell by 32% in volume and 19% in value compared to the previous period.

31 May marked the end of Morocco’s quota period for the export of tomatoes to the EU. The volume exported amounted to 95% of the available quota for the 2013/14 campaign, with a total of 66 days with a price below the minimum established in the EU-Morocco Trade Agreement.

FreshPlaza.com

Waitrose introduces misshapen tomato mix

Waitrose introduces misshapen tomato mix

In a supermarket first, Waitrose is now offering customers a bulk mixed selection pack of tomatoes, made up of fruit that wouldn’t previously have been available to buy.

The 1kg pack of mixed tomatoes is made up of a selection of round, cherry and baby plum tomatoes which have either naturally fallen off the vine or are misshapen. This latest addition to the tomato range follows on from other similar successful launches by the supermarket, including ‘misshapen’ strawberries, and plums plus weather-blemished apples, all introduced in a bid to ensure that as much fruit as possible is available to customers to buy whole. Each tomato pack will vary depending on what’s currently available.

The launch of the new pack coincides with the introduction of two other traditional varieties into the tomato range, with a first-to-market British-grown Coeur de Boeuf and yellow beef tomato both going into selected branches this week, bringing the total number of tomato varieties now available at Waitrose to 30.

Peter Cooke, Waitrose’s tomato buyer, says, “When it comes to tomatoes there’s absolutely no reason why beauty has to be skin deep. Our tomatoes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but, whatever their appearance, they all taste absolutely delicious. Every one of our mixed selection packs is different which, for me, is the real beauty of using tomatoes that wouldn’t normally be offered in this way to customers.”

Please visit waitrose.com for more information.

Publication date: 5/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

U.S.: Strong growth of snack tomato sector

U.S.: Strong growth of snack tomato sector

It is now a little over a year since NatureSweet purchased Euro Fresh’s greenhouse facilities, which totals approximately 336 acres (136 hectares) located in Willcox and Snowflake, Arizona. “All things considered, it’s going really well, despite the learning curve we knew we would have to handle by taking the step from mid-tech to high-tech greenhouses,” explains Michael Joergensen, Marketing Director of the company.

Growing approaches have also changed, from Euro Fresh’s old focus on yield to the new NatureSweet model based on year-round set pricing and an exclusive focus on flavour. “We still have much learning to do, but we have made great progress and we expect Arizona’s facilities to be maxed out in terms of production within the year,” assures Michael.

The takeover also entailed the removal of peppers from the range, as Euro Fresh used to source them from third producers and NatureSweet exclusively deals with its own production. “We still work with cucumbers, primarily at Snowflake, and have continued some of the relationships and agreements Euro Fresh had in place,” affirms Michael, “And we are working on growing protocols to obtain cucumbers with a better flavour.”

Small tomato category
NatureSweet also stopped the production of Beefsteak and Vine tomatoes shortly after the purchase, but it still grows Grape, Cherry, Roma and Cocktail tomatoes, as well as some new varieties currently being tested. Michael assures that “studies have shown that 75% of consumers prefer small tomatoes, because they have more flavour, and we know that their expectations in this sense keep increasing.”

This trend has resulted in a rapid growth of the small tomato category, from 17% to 33% of total fresh tomatoes in the United States in ten years. In fact, one of the hurdles for NatureSweet and other similar growers is that retailers have not quite caught up with it yet. “We believe that at least 50% of the shelf space should be allocated to small tomatoes, as that is where the money is now,” says Michael.

Packaging also plays an essential role for NatureSweet; it protects the product, it extends the shelf life and it makes it more recognisable. Michael explains that “this is essential in building a brand, as packaging is the first thing that consumers recognise as part of the brand promise: the guarantee that they will have an enjoyable experience with the product or get their money back.”

The two biggest challenges for NatureSweet will be to maintain its relationships with the seed companies, with which it closely collaborates, and staying at the upfront with consumers of the varieties that are coming. “Right now we feel we are ahead of our competitors in that regard and we wish to continue driving and shaping the market,” concludes Michael Joergensen.

For more information:
Michael Joergensen
NatureSweet
Tel: +1 210.408.8530
Email: [email protected]
www.naturesweet.com

Publication date: 5/29/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Dewey Gargiulo, tomato industry icon, dies at 84

Dewey Oliver Gargiulo, a legend in the fresh tomato business, died May 9, after a long illness. He was 84.

Before moving to Immokalee, FL, to farm tomatoes in 1952, Mr. Gargiulo began his career in the produce industry working for his uncle in a produce market in the Bronx, NY.

Upon his arrival in Florida, Mr. Gargiulo recognized the opportunity to create a high-quality brand and he worked to grow and pack a premium tomato. He branded the tomato “Beefstake,” which quickly became the standard in the industry.

Mr. Gargiulo was also one of the original founders of the Florida Tomato Exchange, an organization that has continued to work for and represent the Florida tomato industry.

“It was that kind of forward-thinking leadership that Dewey was known for,” said Florida Tomato Committee Manager Reggie Brown, who first met Mr. Gargiulo while working as Collier County’s agricultural extension director in the early 1980s.

“Although he had retired from the business a number of years ago, a leader of Dewey’s caliber left his mark on the industry in a rather permanent way,” Brown said. “Even though he was a relatively quiet individual, when he made a comment or provided input, it was to be recognized and treated as comments from a leader.”

Mr. Gargiulo was born Jan. 7, 1930, in New Rochelle, NY, to Dewey Dante Gargiulo and Margaret Frances Oliver. He attended Villanova University, and upon graduation served with distinction as a captain — one of the youngest commanding officers — in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The longtime Naples, FL, resident is survived by Janet Gargiulo, his wife of 63 years; their three children, Jeff, John, and Lisa; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A closed private service was held for the family and a few friends. The family requested remembrances, in lieu of flowers, be made to the Neighborhood Health Clinic or Avow Hospice.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Tomato turf wars: Benign bug beats salmonella; tomato eaters win

Scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have identified a benign bacterium that shows promise in blocking Salmonella from colonizing raw tomatoes. Their research is published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

When applied to Salmonella-contaminated tomato plants in a field study, the bacterium, known as Paenibacillus alvei, significantly reduced the concentration of the pathogen compared to controls.

Outbreaks of Salmonella traced to raw tomatoes have sickened nearly 2,000 people in the US from 2000-2010, killing three. Since the millennium, this pathogen has caused 12 multistate outbreaks of food-borne illness — more than one each year. It was this carnage that provided the impetus for the study, according to corresponding author Jie Zheng, of the FDA.

“The conditions in which tomatoes thrive are also the conditions in which Salmonella thrives,” says coauthor Eric W. Brown, also of FDA, “but we knew that if we could block Salmonella from infecting the tomato plant, we could reduce its risk of infecting the person who eats the tomato.”

The logic behind the work is simple. Many innocuous bacterial species thrive within the tomato-growing environment.

“We hypothesized that such an organism could be found that possessed the ability to outcompete or chemically destroy Salmonella,” says Zheng. “After screening many hundreds of potential biocontrol strains of bacteria that were isolated from farms and natural environments in the Mid-Atlantic region, we found about 10 isolates of bacteria representing very different genera and species that could curb the growth and/or destroy Salmonella in our test assays.”

Many of these were as pathogenic to humans as is Salmonella, but two isolates, belonging to the environmentally friendly species, P. alvei, strongly inhibited growth of Salmonella.

“This bacterium also has no known history of human pathology, making it a great candidate as a biological control agent,” says Zheng.

“While farmers and agricultural scientists have long used microbes to prevent plant diseases, we now have the opportunity to add a naturally-occurring microbe to a crop in the field with the goal of preventing human disease,” says Zheng. “Our ambitions are now to extend this microbial approach to cantaloupe, leafy greens, and other crops that have lately been responsible for outbreaks of food-borne Salmonella and E. coli.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Craftsmanship & specialisation: keys to success in the tomato business

David Bell, Chief Marketing Officer of Houweling’s Tomatoes:
Craftsmanship & specialisation: keys to success in the tomato business

Houweling’s Tomatoes is a family owned, world-renowned greenhouse tomato grower with facilities in Camarillo, California and Delta, British Columbia. It controls its entire production chain, from seed to planting, growing, packing and shipping, which ensures maximum control over the product’s quality. David Bell, Chief Marketing Officer of the company, says that the main focus of greenhouse growers today is no longer on yield and shelf life, but on flavour, as this is what ultimately attracts consumers and the industry’s pendulum is again swinging towards that.


David Bell, Chief Marketing Officer of Houweling’s Tomatoes

“Any intelligence we get on how to grow better seedlings is something our customers certainly benefit from; in our case, this is achieved through feedback from the crop growing part of the business to the propagation side,” explains Bell.

Houwelings was originally a floral greenhouse operator. The father of Casey Houweling (founding C.E.O.) emigrated from the Netherlands to Canada and in 1956 started the family business. In 1976, Casey joined his father’s operation and suggested entering the beefsteak tomato market.


Ruben Houweling, Propagation Manager of Houweling Nurseries

In 1985, Casey convinced him to build a 6 acre beefsteak tomato greenhouse, and over the next ten years, those 6 acres expanded to 50; 30 devoted to tomato production and the other 20 to the seedling division. Depending on the time of the year, 10 from those 50 will be used for either crops or propagation. The company’s 125 acre facility in California also developed from a smaller, 20 acre property acquired by Casey in 1995. Altogether, Houweling’s controls a total of 175 acres under glass, with plans for further expansion in Utah.

The reasons for this latest expansion are twofold; on the one hand, the States is an underserviced market. “We expect 90% of the production to be marketed in Salt Lake City and its surrounding area and this gives us a competitive advantage,” assures Bell. On the other hand, not only will the company profit from a deal with an energy plant and the support from the Government, but it will also be able to operate within a 100 mile radius of the city, ensuring sustainability from a business perspective and providing consumers guaranteed access to the freshest locally-grown produce.

“Our California produce in the winter is a hot commodity and most retailers tend to listen to consumers, who demand more U.S. grown produce. In British Columbia we started with 5 acres under lights year-round and we now have 10. Additionally, the California produce, which is the next best thing, is our backup in this market. From this position we also sell to the Pacific North West, and the B.C. grown produce has acquired quite a good reputation in Washington and Oregon,” says Bell.


CHP at Houweling’s greenhouse

Bell assures that the firm is capable of competing with Mexico, despite the difference in production costs. “We have learned a lot about what growing styles to use to maximise the production. As far as prices go, in the winter we can generate a premium, and with the new facilities and the agreement with the energy plant, competitiveness will be ensured. Additionally, when comparing outdoor tomatoes with greenhouse tomatoes in terms of taste, the latter will always win and the former will only do well at a local level. Retailers also appreciate the food safety advantages and protection against adverse weather conditions.”

Regarding this season’s prospects, David Bell does not expect a banner year, although he believes it should still be good. There is more acreage in California, which in itself should level things out, and Mexico continues to increase its export volumes and extend the season. All of this makes it easy for prices to fall.

One of Houweling’s defining principles is that all produce labelled by the company is guaranteed to have been grown by them. “Other firms will buy it from their competitors locally and repack it, but we won’t do that, as we aim to stand firmly behind our produce and have full control over its quality. If production volumes happen to fall, we make use of an alternate brand called Greenhouse Fresh that allows us to purchase from Mexico and other Canadian or U.S. operators, making sure that they use methods that we trust, and we either repackage it as Greenhouse Fresh or leave the original labels. This allows for better product traceability and transparency, which are very important for us.”

According to Bell, when dealing with breeders, it is important to devote time for the trial of new varieties, but without losing focus on the main crops that are going to deliver the revenue that will keep the business moving forward. “Seed companies look to us as a firm they can rely on to conduct trials; these are interesting because testing new varieties gives you the right to be the first to market them.”

The trendiest varieties are currently snack tomatoes, smaller in size, full of flavour and generally with a longer shelf life, but also assortments of different shapes and colours. “We offer a medley tomato package including grape, mini Roma and cherry and the visual impact has consumers thinking gourmet,” explains Bell.

At certain times of the year, Houweling’s also exports to the Asian market. Some of the smaller beefsteak tomatoes with little appeal in North America are very attractive for Japanese consumers and Japan is also a good market for the sweeter snack varieties. “It is not primary business for us, but it is certainly a good secondary market, and as with the trial of new varieties, it is important to keep an eye on such opportunities to prevent competitors from capitalising on them, especially when investments are being made in acreage expansion and the U.S. market share inevitably shrinks.”

Another aspect that sets Houweling’s apart is the role of its C.E.O. “The chief executives of our major competitors, for the most part, are sales and marketing people who know how to hire great growers, but Houweling’s has the authenticity of the craftsman’s care, as every day Casey walks the greenhouses. Houweling’s tomatoes are an extension of who he is and he is always in touch with the crop and considers himself a farmer. Ultimately, consumers like to believe that there is a person behind the brand who is proud of his produce. Casey believes that the company’s two main goals are growing great tasting tomatoes and making money to continue growing great tasting tomatoes.”

Houweling’s also makes very active use of social media and digital tools, with over 17,000 likes on its Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, a YouTube channel and a mobile version of its website recently launched, which entailed a relatively small investment but is paying off considerably in terms of marketing and brand exposure.


Top left photo is the propagation of a few basil plants

Regarding the introduction of new products, the company has plans to grow herbs, starting with a few types of basil with the opportunity to expand. “Quite often we have customers requesting us to grow bell peppers, but we are resisting it, as we believe in specialisation and we want to be the best tomato growers. On the sales and marketing side, we can service other products because we have good relationships with fantastic growers, but on the breeding and cultivating side, we are best at growing tomatoes and we wish our fame to be based on that for many years to come.”

For more information:
David Bell
Houweling’s Tomatoes
Tel: +1 604.946.0844 ext. 205
Email: [email protected]
www.houwelings.com

Publication date: 4/15/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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