In the first weeks of May, Landgard growers began harvesting the first German open field lettuces. Due to the cool and dark weather in the important growing month of April, the start of the open field season took place later than last year. Harvesting of the first open field varieties such as lettuce and mini romaine lettuce began at the beginning of May, and since mid-May the popular iceberg lettuces from the fields of German growers have been enriching the range of products on offer at vegetable counters.
“Retailers and consumers alike have been eagerly awaiting the first regionally cultivated fresh lettuces. This enabled us to achieve a high price level, especially for the first batches, and to find a good consensus in close coordination with the trade and our members, even in the event of any fluctuations in weight or quality,” says Alexander Scheufen, Vegetable Sales Manager at Landgard West Obst & Gemüse.
“The late night frosts that occurred into May have led to isolated frost damage, but overall quantities and qualities are stable. All in all, therefore, if the weather plays along in the coming weeks, we expect a good season for open field lettuces.”
Grower Heinz Stoffers
Stable volumes and good qualities
This is also confirmed by Landgard grower Heinz Stoffers. In Krefeld, the 59-year-old owner of Stoffers Gemüsebau grows iceberg lettuce on around 60 hectares and lettuce on 35 hectares, among other crops. “Due to the cool spring, the first sets of our lettuces came shortly after each other and had a very good quality, despite the frost,” says the Landgard grower.
“As of today, we therefore expect stable volumes slightly above last year and hope that in the wake of the Corona pandemic, not everyone will now go on vacation at the same time.” After all, there is always something new to discover at home – such as new exciting lettuce varieties, which Heinz Stoffers is also constantly testing in cultivation trials together with growers*.
Durable lettuce varieties
In Region West, Landgard member farms grow fresh open field lettuce for trade and industry on around 1100 hectares. While classic lettuce is in slight decline, colorful lettuces and varieties such as MiniRomana, iceberg lettuce and Caesar Crisp continue to be in vogue, says Alexander Scheufen: “Consumers are increasingly turning to varieties that stay fresh for a long time. This is also evident, for example, in our hydroponically grown lettuces. These are sold complete with roots and can therefore be placed in water again at home. These are particularly popular with salad lovers this year.”