Gemüsehof Eggers

Germany: Red and local: ketchup and co. made from genuine Vierländer tomatoes

Whether in the form of classic red, green, or black, cherry, date, or bell pepper, or even the historic Vierländer tomatoes: the variety of tomatoes at Eggers Gemüsehof is vast. A total of 14 varieties ripen on 5.000 square meters in the heated greenhouses at Ochsenwerder Elbdeich. Even though they have been slow to ripen this year due to the cold temperatures and, above all, a lot of darkness, a few tomatoes from Ochsenwerder are already available as fresh vegetables in supermarkets and weekly markets.

But the taste of the Vierländer tomatoes is now also available in jars: as soup, sauce, and even mustard. The Eggers vegetable farm is launching a total of 13 products. "We are excited to see how this will be received," says Arne Eggers, who is the sixth generation to run the long-established family business. In addition to his wife, Gabriela, his parents, Anke and Arnold, are also still involved in the vegetable farm.

Winter time used to experiment in terms of taste
For some time now, the family had been thinking about how they could usefully expand their tomato range. There are said to be more than 10.000 varieties of the subtropical plant worldwide. But the proposal to add more tomato varieties to the range was rejected again due to a lack of resources such as cultivation areas or skilled workers. Instead, the idea of refining their own tomato fruits was pursued.

The winter period was used to try out a lot in the home kitchen and to experiment in terms of taste. In cooperation with a production company from Schwarzenbek, the first assortment around the Vierländer tomato was finally developed. "All items contain only regional ingredients and are vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free," emphasizes Arne Eggers.

Children's ketchup is sweetened with fructose
The goal is to produce goods from Hamburg for Hamburg, explains the 40-year-old master gardener. Raw materials that are not grown in Ochsenwerder are purchased from well-known farms and businesses in the region - such as salt, where the company works together with the Ostseemanufaktur. "In this way, we can also offer an all-round regional product," emphasizes Arne Eggers.

The tomato salt, which contains Baltic Sea salt and rosemary in addition to dried Vierländer tomatoes, is one of his wife's favorites. Gabriele Eggers also particularly likes the pesto and the dressing. Arne Eggers, on the other hand, favors the mild tomato mustard and the plum ketchup, which is made from juicy plums and Vierländer tomatoes to create a fruity, spicy mix. His kids, on the other hand, love the ketchup - whether as a fruity classic or children's version sweetened with date juice instead of industrial sugar.

Whether sauce, soup, or salt: 13 different products made from Vierländer tomatoes.

Arne Eggers hopes that everyone will be able to find the right product for them. After all, there is also a soup, herb sauce for pasta, a tomato fruit spread and also curry sauce, picante salsa, and barbecue sauce for barbecues in summer or fondue on New Year's Eve. Because even though the company, which specializes in tomatoes, already has a very long harvest period from March into November thanks to its heated and illuminated greenhouse, Arne Eggers hopes to extend the season even further into the winter with the new products and build-up a broader customer base.

Because last year it was noticeably harder to sell the fresh tomatoes: "We've never experienced that before," says the 40-year-old. It's true that there was always a small low during the summer vacations when many people were away instead of shopping at the local weekly markets or supermarkets. But it wasn't just that last year; apparently even more people traveled after it was possible again after the pandemic restrictions were lifted. The increased energy costs and the associated fear of impending additional payments were also reflected in a significantly restrained buying behavior of customers, reports the vegetable gardener.

Sales of tomatoes halved in 2022
Sales of Hamburg's largest tomato grower, which sells its harvest to wholesale market traders and Hamburg weekly market traders and supplies Rewe markets, roughly halved in 2022, explains Arne Eggers. But the ripe fruit that could not be sold fresh should not be disposed of under any circumstances. "That would be the worst-case scenario," says Arne Eggers. So about eight tons were frozen, their shelf life thus saved, and now boiled down and refined into juice and sauces.

Last week, the first supermarkets were supplied. Except for salt and pesto (4.99 euros each), all other products cost 3.99 euros. The Eggers Gemüsehof range is already available at ten Rewe stores, including Süderquerweg in Kirchwerder, Altona, Tonndorf, Buxtehude, and Wedel. Those who would like to know exactly where the products are available can inquire with the vegetable yard at the next point of sale or order it there directly. You can contact them at:

Source: Hamburger Abendblatt

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