The sweet potato has caught up rapidly in Northwest European cultivation in recent years. Breeders have also recognized the potential of this root vegetable, which is why more and more varieties are being introduced to the market for local cultivation. The pioneer in sweet potatoes is the Münster-based breeding company Volmary Ltd. With a growing range of varieties called Erato, which now includes 12 varieties, they want to further promote regional cultivation, Manuel Scheuring told us.
The lion’s share of the product to be marketed is still imported from abroad, with about one-tenth of the supply coming from regional cultivation, knows Scheuring, who as a consultant mainly serves Bavaria and Austria. “Nevertheless, the growing yields have shown us that cultivation works in this country, too. Even in this rather poor year in terms of weather, regional sweet potato growers have been able to achieve relatively quite good yields.”
According to Scheuring, Erato Orange has the best yield overall, Deep Orange is the safest variety to grow, and Early Orange takes only 85-90 days from planting to harvest, again giving it the most expeditious growing process. “We have the right variety for every commercial grower and offer a holistic concept to both the trade and the grower. That means we also take care of shelf life and taste tests. In the latter test, by the way, the white-fleshed Erato Gusto did best,” Scheuring said.
What once began as a modest side line has now established itself as an international hobbyhorse for Volmary Ltd. Erato varieties are now being shipped as far afield as Russia, but the company still sees huge growth potential, especially within the DACH region. “The young plants come mainly from German cultivation, which is why transport distances are short throughout the supply chain. In addition, the sweet potato grows and thrives even in persistent heat, which is crucial for many growers, especially in times of climate change. Finally, sweet potato is ideal in crop rotation and hardly susceptible to disease compared to other outdoor crops. The future challenges lie more in post-harvest handling and storage,” says Scheuring.
Volmary Ltd has always cultivated close relationships with both allotment gardeners and commercial farmers. Accordingly, the sophisticated range of varieties in sweet potatoes is suitable for both sectors. “We are also able to serve the very large grower accordingly. Therefore, in my view, our Erato varieties are an enrichment for agriculture,” Scheuring concludes.
A source: https://www.freshplaza.com