Niewczas Strawberry Plant Nursery, a family-driven company, has over 40 years of experience in cultivating strawberry plants. The nursery is in the mid-northern part of Poland in the village of Wielowicz, about 50 kilometers from Bydgoszcz. The company cultivates over 100 hectares of fields, of which about 1/5 are strawberry plants. Niewczas Strawberry Plant Nursery specializes in the production of various strawberry plants, licensed and non-licensed, intended for dessert and processing.
"We are among the most important wholesale producers and the biggest retail seller of strawberry plants in Poland. Therefore, we choose the varieties we grow carefully, so they really answer the need of our clients."
Jakub Niewczas, co-owner of Niewczas Strawberry Plant Nursery, said that their company sells strawberry plants to leading producers and amateur cultivators of strawberries throughout Poland and Central Europe. The nursery offers Mini tray, Fresh and Frigo strawberry plants, which are kept in specialized cold rooms in hibernation at an adequate temperature.
When asked about the biggest challenge in growing strawberries, Jakub said there are three main challenges. First, it is challenging to produce the right variety, type, and amount of strawberry plants because it is a long-term process (several years), and there are frequent and quick changes in the preferences of wholesale customers (farmers).
Second, the number of good workers available on the market is limited, and strawberry production still requires a lot of manual labor. Third, keeping the strawberry plants healthy is a key element of their production process, as the number of available plant production products decreases, and the risk of pathogen contamination does not slow.
Regarding technological innovations, Jakub said that market research, good planning, and choosing very good strawberry varieties help them produce the right variety, type, and amount of strawberry plants. In terms of labor, the company promotes good work conditions and modernization of strawberry plant production. Jakub also said that they take care of their mother plants' source, regularly test the soil and plants, apply for rigorous restrictive protection, and use even more biological/natural methods to keep their plants in excellent condition and pathogen-free for a long time.
"In Poland and central Europe, growers are gradually adopting more and more modern forms of production," Jakub added. "They focus on the production of fresh varieties than on processing, which gives them a chance for higher profit but, of course, requires more knowledge and investment. Organic farming develops, it is going to still increase if production costs stabilize and the prices are beneficial all the time, not only from time to time."
The company grows different strawberry varieties that cater to the needs of their clients, who use various types of production, sell their fruits to different markets (fresh, shops, supermarkets, and for processing), and have different preferences. Jakub said that they choose the varieties they grow carefully to ensure that they meet their clients' needs. They have varieties of all fruiting time types, from early season to late season and everbearing.
Jakub said that they have proven varieties for years, such as Honeoye, and good new ones, such as Rumba. "We can observe that among professional growers, the most popular are very early season varieties such as Vibrant and Honeoye. Selling fruits before the season gives them a chance for higher profit. Additionally, those varieties are resistant to frost and diseases and give large, tasty, shapely and firm fruits," he sees. "Amateur cultivators choose tasty varieties, easy to grow with attractive fruits, hanging and climbing. But everybody is also interested in everbearing varieties which fruit for few months, from spring to late autumn."
One of their best very early varieties is Vibrant, which has large, tasty, and sweet fruits and is frost and diseases resistant. Polish Grandarosa is another variety of great interest, as it is an early variety with extremely large and tasty fruits, highly productive, and perfect for professional growers and gardens. One of the tastiest varieties is Polka, which has a full, juicy red pulp that is perfect for processing. Jakub also mentioned that they have excellent San Andreas, Selva, Albion, and Mara des Bois everbearing varieties.
Polka & Grandarosa variety
Jakub says the main change the team observes in the market is the growing awareness of customers. "Their knowledge that professionally produced seedlings mean certainty of obtained variety (confirmed by a plant passport), better crops, and vitality of plants. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do," he says. "Illegal sales of especially licensed varieties still happens. We attach great importance to preventing this by informing our customers about the prohibition of reproduction, signing the sales agreement, and cooperating with variety owners."
For more information:
Niewczas Strawberry Plant Nursery
Tel. +48 606 141 821