The German vegetable season is now largely drawing to a close. The Karlsruhe-based wholesale business of Link Frischgemüse und Topfkräuter Ltd is gradually running out of domestic spinach, beans, tomatoes, and the like, but with potted herbs from its own nursery, the family business has found a stable and, above all, year-round market niche, says stand salesman Daniel Horn.
What began as a supplementary product line has been able to establish a high profile as a potted herb assortment over the years. Horn: "We now offer around 85 potted herbs from our own nursery, a significant part of which is available 12 months a year. We can also offer basil - a very sensitive plant in terms of cultivation - all year round thanks to our heat lamps."
Daniel Horn works in the Link stand sales department at the Karlsruhe wholesale market.
Larger interest thanks to cooking shows
In addition to commercially available herb varieties, Horn says that unusual and, until recently, unknown herbs are also enjoying increasing popularity among consumers. "The cooking shows on TV have undoubtedly boosted consumption. In the wake of this, lemon shrub and blood sorrel are now also finding favor from consumers. Apart from expansions at customer request, the selection is now constant for the time being," Horn explained.
Thanks to good networking in wholesaling as well as in food retailing, he said, the marketing of potted herbs remained largely stable even during the Covid crisis. "At the time of the first lockdown, we were able to achieve a slight increase in sales, but in the meantime, the market share has nevertheless returned to the usual level. The advantage is precisely that our potted herbs enjoy consistent demand throughout the year, especially in regional food retailing."
Young plants are sold to regional gardeners. Currently, or in winter, only young lamb's lettuce plants are marketed.
Lack of plastic pots
Still, the Covid-related plastic shortage is making itself felt. "We are finding it increasingly difficult to get new pots for our herbs. We have tried pots made of cardboard, but these have not proven themselves as a reasonable alternative."
For more information:
Link Frischgemüse und Topfkräuter GmbH
Steiermärker Str. 14
Karlsruhe - Durlach
Telefon: (07 21) 46 72 67 95