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Gemüsering grows Kazuti

"They manage to get the full genetic potential from this premium variety"

The Gemüsering greenhouse has been cooking something rather special. Those growers are indeed the only ones who grow Kazuti tomatoes by HW Seeds in Germany. "They manage to get the full genetic potential from this premium variety," says Roel Huisman from HW Seeds. These tomatoes already received some accolades, being praised by top chefs and receiving three stars from the International Taste Institute.

Only growers holding a specific license are allowed to grow the Kazuti. "This exclusivity allows customers to build a unique brand," Roel points out.

Taste experience
The tomatoes tested by the International Taste Institute were grown by Thomas Henninger at the Gemüsering Zorbau greenhouse. Lukas Scholz of Gemüsering says he grows between 30 and 40 tomato varieties in both the Zorbau and the Schkölen locations. "In Zorbau, tomatoes are grown under LEDs. During the summer, cultivation mainly takes place in the Schkölen greenhouse. Thanks to both locations, we can offer most of our products year-round, and that includes Piccolo and Kazuti. In this way, we can go for a double-track strategy, meaning that we can offer tomatoes for two different price segments throughout the year.

The Kazuti variety represents the premium segment for the Gemüsering growers. This Kazuti variety stands out thanks to its umami flavor. Many years ago, HW Seeds crossed special traits from Japanese varieties into its own range. Roel: "The taste spectrum in Japan is very different than in the West, and we wanted to bring some of that flavor over here."

Thomas Henninger with cherry tomato Kazuti in the greenhouse in Schkölen

Now, people in Germany, Austria and North America are experiencing this novel Kazuti flavor. In the US and Canada, Nature Fresh Farms handles this variety, and developed a brand for it: Hiiros. On the other hand, in Germany, the premium tomato can only be found under the respective retailer's brand, in 180 or 200-gram cardboard packaging.

Price-wise, Kazuti tomatoes in Germany are slightly above the average price level of premium cherry tomatoes, points out Lukas. "We want to keep the prices attractive to appeal to a wide audience as much as possible. At the same time, getting production costs under control can be challenging. Despite that, we can do it in a way that it is actually possible to be price-competitive. We also believe that high-quality products still have a right to exist. Especially when people pay more attention to money, it is important to offer a product whose quality pops off." He does note that Gemüsering does not observe inflation-related price sensitivity so much in the premium segment, but more in the entry-level segment.

Kazuti in German cultivation

Expansion of cultivation in Germany
Kazuti is grown in Zorbau and Schkölen on 1.5 ha each. Scholz: "Interestingly, yields are slightly higher in winter, which is clearly due to lighting, climate control, and overall optimal growing conditions. Thanks to how we handle energy consumption here, we could provide full lighting in winter on 22/23 and 23/24, while many other greenhouses at home and abroad had to save energy. This is ultimately reflected in the quality. We have so far been extremely satisfied with the Brix value, shelf life, texture, and fruit weight of our tomatoes."

In the traditionally low-light months of February and March, yields tend to be slightly lower, he continues. "In week 27, the season closes in Zorbau, until mid-September, when we go ahead with our summer production exclusively. We have deliberately brought forward the crop rotation in Zorbau to be fully back on the market in autumn."

The crop in Schkölen will then also be cleared at the end of November. "We are also currently investigating whether an expansion of the acreage for Kazuti in Zorbau is possible, as we are finding that home-grown premium tomatoes are still popular."Resistance
At HW Seeds, they welcome any expansion with the already multiple award-winning variety. In addition to the recently obtained three stars, the variety won awards in the US and Canada in 2021 and 2022. "And again this year, the variety scored well with consumers resulting in the Good House Keeping Award."

While the company wins awards, they are also working on new tomato varieties at their breeding site in Winschoten. Currently, one of the main focus is on ToBRFV resistance. "The current Kazuti is not yet resistant. For our current customers, it is the flavor and quality that matters the most, at the moment."

At the same time, some rugose-resistant Kazuti varieties are currently being trialed. "We had it tested externally at WUR and in a heavily infected greenhouse. There, the resistant variety grew well. With that basis, we are now working to get those unique Kazuti characteristics back into the resistant version."

Kazuti, photo via HW Seeds

For more information:
Lukas Scholz
Gemüseproduktion Zorbau GmbH
Patterken 12
06686 Lützen OT Zorbau
+49 34441 44933-0
[email protected]

Roel Huisman
HW Seeds BV
Paperbaan 50f
9672BH Winschoten.
+31 (0)6 55 734 732
[email protected]

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