Beyond Seeds has recently presented Zucchiolo, a novel concept in the greenhouse horticultural segment that is bound to leave nobody in the European industry indifferent.
"Zucchiolo is a new vegetable concept. It derives from a cucurbit native to South America that is a cross between a zucchini and a cucumber, hence the brand name we have given it, which combines the Italian words zucchini and cetriolo," explains Alfredo Sánchez-Gimeno, Marketing & Product Development Manager at Beyond Seeds Biotech Group.
"In these five years of development, we have carried out the genetic improvement of the original product, achieving the great challenge of adapting it for greenhouse cultivation. The Zucchiolo plant has a structure in between those of a cucumber and a zucchini and represents an alternative for producers who grow both vegetables. It has a short cycle, like all cucurbits, and we have developed varieties for both fall/winter and for the spring growing cycle."
"The yields are quite high, around 9-11 kg/m², with planting densities of around 8,500 plants per hectare," says Alfredo, so the productive yield may exceed 100,000 kg per hectare. "In addition to its adaptation to greenhouse cultivation, another of the great challenges we have succeeded at has been the development of a tricolor range of varieties. We produce dark green, light green and yellow Zucchiolos."
Fresh or cooked
In addition to being a fascinating novelty for the market, as well as an interesting alternative at the producer level, the Zucchiolo offers great versatility to consumers. "Just like the brand claim says, it can be eaten fresh or cooked. This allows the Zucchiolo to stand out from other horticultural products," says Alfredo Sánchez.
"In its raw state, it can be eaten with the skin on, as it has a soft texture, without any thorns, which allows the whole product to be used without generating any waste. When cooking it, the Zucchiolo can be used like a zucchini and even like an eggplant, and can be prepared in as many recipes as the imagination allows. In fact, chef Tony García has been collaborating with us to test its versatility and has prepared numerous dishes, which could also be tasted in his presentation, from vegetable lasagna with layers of Zucchiolo to salmorejo."
"Also worth mentioning is the post-harvest shelf life of the Zucchiolo, as it can be kept in perfect condition outside the refrigerator for about 3 weeks; something totally impossible for a zucchini or a cucumber," says Alfredo.
Zucchiolo Lovers Club
Beyond Seeds is a plant biotechnology research company, and part of its work is focused on the development of new, unique varieties, as is the case of the Zucchiolo. "We have collaborated with IFAPA in the agronomic development of this product, and our objective now is to promote the commercial development of the brand, registered for both Europe and South America. To this end, we have launched the Zucciolo Lovers Club, which can be joined by anyone interested in this new concept."
"All the feedback we are receiving is very positive and various marketers have already shown their interest in producing it commercially. In fact, next season we plan to start marketing our three varieties of Zucchiolo in Europe through the new club," says Alfredo Sánchez-Gimeno.
For more information:
Marketing & Product Development Manager
Beyond Seeds Biotech Group
Sede Científica PITA
04120 Almeria, Spain
Tel.: +34 617 622 296