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German asparagus and strawberry expos attract record attendance 

German asparagus and strawberry expos attract record attendance 

 

ExpoSE and ExpoDirekt attracted 6,700 trade visitors from across Europe’s asparagus and strawberry sectors on 20th and 21st November. The dual event, which was held in the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, saw a 6% increase in attendees, reports spargel-erdbeerprofi.de. The events featured 445 exhibitors from 12 nations who presented their innovations for asparagus and berry cultivation, as well as for agricultural direct marketing.

Speaking to Simon Schumacher, CEO of the Association of Southern German asparagus and strawberry grower e.V. (VSSE).”The mood in the industry is better than last year. Plant managers have made targeted investments.”

The event also incorporated the 31st Asparagus Day, organised on the first day of the fair by the Karlsruhe Regional Council and the District Office Karlsruhe. Presentations covered topics such as insecticidal use and greening in asparagus, as well as recycling.

 

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Extremadura, production centre of Haciendas Bio’s Organic Asparagus

The company estimates to produce 700 tons throughout the whole season, that will last until April

Even though it is a seasonal product, the company bets on deseasonalizing asparagus crops so by the end of the year the first harvesting in Almería will be carried out.

Haciendasbio, the first producer of organic fruit and vegetables in Spain and leading in exporting to Europe- starts harvesting the first asparagus of the season that will last until April.

The company has 83 hectares dedicated to asparagus production located in Extremadura: 45 hectares for green asparagus, 34 for white asparagus and 4 for purple asparagus.

Even though it is a seasonal product, the company has strived for deseasonalizing the asparagus crops. In December 2019 the first harvest will take place in Almeria, more specifically in Pujaire farm.

Regarding the production volumes, HaciendasBio harvested in 2018 a total of 524 tons of asparagus. This year, with the inclusion of this Almeria farm, the company forecasts to produce 700 asparagus tons

The best product for consumers

The company has been 4 years evaluating varieties of green and white asparagus seeking to find the best ones and therefore to offer the best product. During this process, HaciendasBio has designed a fertilization strategy, irrigation management and plague and diseases control in order to get calibers, brix grades and textures that matches the demands and preferences of consumers. HaciendasBio asparagus keep their extraordinary quality characteristics with less fibers content.

HaciendasBio’s asparagus are characterized by their soft and tender texture. With an intense flavour, its sweetness is superior to the average, so they are pleasant to the palate. The moment of their harvest is very delicate that is why the company harvests the asparagus when they do not stress the plants, cools them immediately in order to avoid dehydration and process them daily.

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Delayed opening to French asparagus season

asperge

France’s 2018 asparagus campaign got off to a late start this year. By April, prices were already in decline with the gradual increase in volumes that remained above the five-year average. At the end of the month, there were problems with flows and stocks increased. Volumes continued to increase while demand slowed down due to poor weather and school holidays. Public holidays in early May led to a boost in demand and prices recovered slightly.

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Bumper asparagus harvest in store for Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region

Germany

Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region expects a good asparagus harvest thanks to the cold winter. The region has around 400 farms growing asparagus on approximately 3,800 hectares and expects to produce 18,500 tons of product by the close of the season, on 24 June. The region is Germany’s third largest asparagus producer after Lower Saxony and Brandenburg. Around 70% of the asparagus produced is sold at weekly markets, among which are the Walbecker and Bornheimer varieties, which are protected as an EU specialty.
Lovers of fine vegetables visiting the region can now enjoy The Asparagus Route NRW, which offers the opportunity to experience asparagus at over 140 farms throughout North Rhine-Westphalia. The region’s attractive villages can be explored by bike, motorbike or on foot and individual routes are available as an app.

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Germany’s asparagus harvest delayed

Asparagus Germany

This Easter, German consumers will see low volumes of Hessian asparagus at high prices, with harvest delayed until mid-April. The weather has affected the Hessian crop over the past three years and the outlook is not looking good for the region’s farmers. Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) opens the season with the traditional harvest of the first South Hessian asparagus on April 12 at the Spargelhof Appel in Darmstadt.

 

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Cooperativa Agrícola San Francisco: consolidates asparagus and artichokes in the European market

The Agrícola San Francisco co-op's main market is Germany, followed by Switzerland and Poland, among others, while in a new venture in 2015 it worked with Canada for the first time.

The Agrícola San Francisco co-op – Cosafra – has 500 members who came together in 1960 with a view to trading their produce through a cooperative.With 2,000 ha located in Granada, southern Spain, the campaign ended 2015 with 1.5 million kg of asparagus, 2 million kg of artichokes and 1 million kg of watermelon.

This was an increase compared to 2014, and this year is expected to turn out the same.

“In asparagus we’ve planted another 2 million, so we’re expecting bigger yields, while in artichokes we hope to reach 3 million kg,” said Cosafra chairman and manager Javier Trujillo Hidalgo.

The co-op’s main market is Germany, followed by Switzerland and Poland, among others, while in a new venture in 2015 it worked with Canada for the first time.

“Artichoke is still not fully ensconced in the European market. It’s selling in Italy and France, but we are trying to raise awareness and consolidate it in new markets,” said Cosafra chairman and manager Javier Trujillo Hidalgo.

The cooperative is GLOBALG.A.P.-certified and this year decided to go for the Grasp quality certificate, which endorses good social practices from the field to the company and to the consumer.

“We are farmers first and foremost, in body and soul; and the produce comes from the field straight to the consumer’s table,” Trujillo Hidalgo said.

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Peak Quality more asparagus and blueberries

Peak Quality's business strategy consists of consolidating its foothold in markets where it is already present, such as Spain, the largest European market for its exports, followed by the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, prior to further expansion.

Located in the city of Ica, 300 kilometres south of Lima, Peak Quality is a company founded in 2005 dedicated to the cultivation, packaging and export of fresh green asparagus.

“We’re a production company with 200 ha of our own cultivation. We also buy in produce from other certified farmers in the area but our aim is to gradually increase our own production area in the years to come.” said head of operations Carlos Aparcana.

The company shifts an annual volume of 900,000 5kg boxes, exporting 60% to the US and 40% to Europe.

Although today the firm is 100% dedicated to asparagus, it is seeking to diversify its production, starting with blueberry cultivation, the first harvest of which was due in August this year.

The goal for 2017 will be to find new growth areas for both products.

Peak Quality’s business strategy consists of consolidating its foothold in markets where it is already present, such as Spain, the largest European market for its exports, followed by the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, prior to further expansion.

“Our added value is that, being a medium-sized company, we are able to provide a fast response and personalised attention in line with the customers’ needs. We also aim to have ongoing production, to be able to supply asparagus year-round,” Aparcana said.

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Espárrago de Granada increases asparagus production 20%

Espárrago de Granada's main market is Germany, followed by Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland. The latter has been on the rise for the past two years and is increasingly demanding more produce.

This second-tier cooperative consists of 5 first-tier cooperatives producing top grade asparagus in Granada, with some plantations in Malaga. It currently has 500 ha in production, which increases 20-30% annually, equivalent to 3 million kg of asparagus, with all certifications required by the European market.

Espárrago de Granada manager José Antonio Sánchez said growing its own produce makes the coop unique, “as we have continuity and can control quality from the minute the seed is sown.”

“We’re usually in the market a week in advance and we have more uniform produce, as we have plantations in two areas,” he said.

The large variety is the one most widely planted, but the company is also trying out new cultivars from Dutch seed nursery Lin, but although Sánchez thinks they will do quite well, it will take a year to certify that everything is running smoothly.

Espárrago de Granada’s main market is Germany, followed by Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland. The latter has been on the rise for the past two years and is increasingly demanding more produce.

Growth is also being seen in Scandinavian countries and the UK.

 

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Asparagus: San Isidro de Loja successfully launches convenience item

"We decided to make a convenience product for the end customer, consisting of a 200g box of short asparagus, accompanied by a small bottle of olive oil and ready to eat."

The cooperative was founded in 1958 to unite the efforts of its members to trade the produce they harvested, so that the farms in the region would become the economic driving force for many families making a living from agriculture, while helping keep the present and future rural environment sustainable for new generations.

The main activity was olive oil production and on this basis and given the rising number of members, the co-op decided to accept asparagus as a product for handling and sale.

Germán Rodriguez Mir, commercial manager for the East, said given strong demand for asparagus tips or short asparagus, “we decided to make a convenience product for the end customer, consisting of a 200g box of short asparagus, accompanied by a small bottle of olive oil and ready to eat.

“It’s a product mainly designed for supermarkets, which the end customer can purchase for 3 euros. The good thing about this asparagus is that nothing goes to waste.”

Asparagus sales are growing and represent a very important turnover for the company, which 5 years ago was producing 500 tons and last year grew 2,000, doubling its production year upon year.

Volume growth is accompanied by an increase in the number of hectares devoted to this crop.

While Germany, a traditional asparagus consumer, is the main market, Rodriguez Mir said consumption is rising throughout Europe: in the Netherlands, in Scandinavian countries, Central Europe, and now Poland. 

 

Read more asparagus and other fresh produce news from edition 145 (Sep-Oct 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine here.