A group of growers and retail professionals gathered on Friday 12 April in the De Ruiter Experience Center in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands. This time, the Strabena tomato variety was in the spotlight. Nico van Vliet, trade partnership manager with De Ruiter, took the group back to the start of the development of Strabena. This new variety had to meet three characteristics: good taste, good shelf life and a deep red color.
Strabena scored high on these properties. Nico: "The breeding process was more than successful. And it also turned out to have a strong truss attachment. This feature offers opportunities to further improve sales. It saves waste during harvesting, packaging and consumption."
Franky van Looveren welcomes everyone
This variety is now on the premium shelf and has a fruit weight of 20-25 grams. Strabena can be sold individually and on the vine.
Strabena was launched in 2016. Three growers soon joined. And that number is expanding. The feedback was good from the start. The taste was satisfactory. The combination of sweet and sour is appreciated.
There are observations about the use of plastic packaging materials for tomatoes. The trend to reduce the use of plastic is continuing. Because of the sturdy truss attachment, a plastic packaging is no longer necessary for Strabena. Plastic often serves to hold the tomatoes together. Nico: "This tomato does not fall off the vine."
Increasingly more supermarkets are concentrating on the reduction of plastic. Goals are set. The use of alternative packaging offers even more advantages. In a number of supermarkets, the shelf life of fresh produce is already increased by the use of dry mist. Nico: "This is still
in the test phase. We expect this to expand further."
De Ruiter wants to keep abreast of the demand regarding the varieties. During the event there was an opportunity to discuss this. Kees van Lenning of De Ruiter is mainly involved with determining the quality of vegetables by conducting research with consumers. Kees: "A lot is invested in new varieties through R&D. Let us know what is needed. We will focus on that.”
Moreover, determining quality seems like a simple matter. Kees: "We already start with complex perceptions of the consumer. Moreover, the test persons must not be influenced in any way during testing. Fortunately, there are all kinds of methods for getting good, objective results in these studies. The test persons are always carefully selected."
Nico van Vliet presented the De Ruiter Experience Box to the group. This is a typical example of a preference study. It allows someone to choose between two options. The results are digitally collected at the touch of a button. This setup revolves around Strabena. Of course the box also can be used for other varieties, packaging materials or other presentation options.
Growing for vigor
The growers that were present spoke, led by Duco de Ruiter, about their experiences with Strabena. Various topics were discussed there. They spoke about pruning policy and the number of stems per meter, among other things. Joost Barendse, Prominent, from De Lier is now growing Strabena for the first time in an unlighted greenhouse. Joost: "The question with every variety is always whether to grow for vigor or speed. For Strabena we choose to grow for vigor. We want to prepare the crop for the warmer summer period and then the plant must be strong enough. We prepare our crop for that.”
A visit to the De Ruiter Experience Center is of course accompanied by a visit to the concept store. It is interesting for everyone to be guided around by one of the people from De Ruiter. The latest asset of beef tomato was shown, brix values were measured and tomatoes were tasted.
For more information:
De Ruiter Seeds
Nico van Vliet
+31 (0)10 529 2415
+31 (0)6 2303 4317
Duco de Ruiter
+31 (0)10 529
+31 (0)6 5142 9109