Dr. Kishore is our Head of EMEA Vegetable Breeding and Testing. He is responsible for our breeding program and aims to align market demands and new varieties.
Combining the best
Kishore starts: ‘For tomato, we focus on small and big tomatoes. Our goal is to create varieties with better flavor while still producing higher yields. Color is also on our agenda: we strive for tomatoes with a deep red internal and external color to attract the consumer. Marinice is an excellent example of this strategy: a large truss tomato, which combines production, flavor, and sparkling color.’
‘In small tomatoes, Torelino is a new and unique variety coming from our program. A smaller tomato tends to taste better. However, with Torelino, we succeeded in creating a 40 grams tomato which tastes like a 20 grams tomato. Torelino combines taste with yield and mildew resistance. So Torelino is quite a success for our breeding department.’
‘Of course, grower traits are important, but so is sustainability. We want to reduce waste, like with Strabena. With Strabena, fruits are firmly attached to the truss and don’t fall off easily. With a variety like Strabena, the fruits don’t need a plastic wrapping. They can be sold loose, or in a carton box.’
The key to resistance
‘Hygiene and viruses are top of mind for all growers. We realized as early as three years ago that the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV) was about to become a global issue. We immediately started a breeding program to create ToBRFV resistant varieties. So, we are ahead of this problem and prove to be a pioneer, searching for solutions for our growers. Meanwhile, we work on varieties with a TY resistance, using marker assisted breeding. We are very good at this!’
Market, Garden, and Experience
The De Ruiter Experience Center is a multi-purpose facility. It consists of two De Ruiter Gardens, both conventional and lit crops. Guests can also visit the De Ruiter Market, where varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are displayed, demonstrating shelf life and enabling comparison to be made between varieties. The Experience Hall provides visitors with the chance to learn about De Ruiter’s history and production techniques. The center also boasts a range of meeting rooms, varying in size, suitable for hosting workshops, meetings and discussions.
Kishore continues: ‘We adopted the philosophy of cocreation in our breeding program. We work closely together with growers, to have more testing locations under different conditions. The feedback from growers is of great valua to us. They help us select the best varieties, which are stable and adaptable to grow under various conditions.’
Moving forward in cucumber
‘We are very proud of what we achieved in our cucumber range. With Garpo, Getty, and Gotja we launched varieties with resistance to CGMMV, thanks to our breeder Belgin Cukadar. She used new technology and created varieties that outperform all others. We now invest in the future for high wire and lit crops in cucumber.’
‘For pepper, we are getting ahead as well, with our breeder Christof Stoll who also used new techniques like Double Haploids. We recently opened a new cell biology laboratory in Spain to support our pepper program, to develop marker breeding and predictive breeding.’