The first vegetable harvest already started in mid-January at Böttcher Gartenbau in Bürstadt. About 5 weeks ago, the first tender, pink rhubarb stalks were harvested from the greenhouse. The unique vegetables are expected to be available until April, says the farm management. This is followed by the season for free-range rhubarb, usually lasting until the end of June.
Harvesting in Bürstadt, going on for about 5 weeks now
Rhubarb cultivation for 10 years
Owner Stefan Böttcher heads the company together with his wife Teresa and sister Ulrike Böttcher. The company was founded in 1958 in Ried, in Hesse. Over the years, a medium-sized, owner-managed company developed with a year-round diverse range of fresh cut herbs and seasonal rhubarb. On more than 200 hectares of open land and a few hectares under glass, around 200 employees are working all year round. They work in accordance with the guidelines and certificates received, like IFS Wholesale, GlobalG.A.P, the Hesse quality audit and QS. The cultivation of forced rhubarb has been taking place at the main location in Bürstadt since 2009.
Stefan Böttcher in the greenhouse
Fresh goods instead of frozen food
After 2 years of careful pre-cultivation in the field, the rhubarb rhizomes (root bales) are brought to the greenhouse to develop. With the help of warmth and darkness, the rhubarb grows. The rhubarb stalks are then harvested by hand. "This rhubarb does not have to be peeled and - with its bright pink color - is a first harbinger of spring. The benefits of greenhouse rhubarb are, of course, freshness and taste."
Böttcher Gartenbau's facility
Greenhouse rhubarb is offered in three grades, in 5kg and 10kg containers, according to the spokeswoman for the company. "Marketing is regionally, Germany-wide and to neighboring countries, with the main buyers being food retailers, wholesalers, restaurants and bakeries. We have noticed that demand has increased significantly over time, which is why we have expanded our production capacity accordingly."
Rhubarb, ready for the trade