UK vegetable breeders Tozer Seeds has officially opened its first trial centre outside of Britain, with the inauguration of a £103,000 testing facility in Murcia.
The centre will examine several varieties of broccoli, cabbage, celery, lettuce, leek and baby leaves including rocket, mini kale, spinach, chard, pak choi, sprouts and Kalette, which have already been planted.
There will also be pumpkin cultivation later this year.
The new farm is the culmination of two years work and demonstrates Tozer Seeds’ commitment to the important growing regions in Murcia, according to José Carlo Grajeda, commercial technician of Tozer Ibérica.
“Having this test field is also an investment for us and shows the dedication and enthusiasm we have. It includes fencing, the installation of pipes, irrigation systems and more.
“The objective of this project is to test the improvements we have made in the UK in Murcia to see how they behave in a Mediterranean climate.”
Tozer Seeds initial interest in Murcia is motivated by the south eastern Spanish region being a significant producer of tomatoes, salad crops and other leafy vegetables, supplied to the UK market during winter months. The usual climate provides ideal growing conditions for a variety of crops which thrive in the area.
However, this year the region suffered extreme weather, including heavy rains followed by freezing temperatures and snow, which severely damaged the first three months supply of vegetables including lettuce, broccoli, spinach, courgettes and more, to Britain during the 2017 season. The shortages were so bad at one point, some UK supermarkets even rationed products like Iceberg and broccoli.
Tozer Seeds’ new facility will also carry out research on niche products, a hallmark of the company for several decades.
And during the recent inauguration of the new facility, Tozer Seeds showcased its main product lines, including a new peak-season hybrid celery, the new parsnip “Warrior F1”, as well as other products like kale, rocket and a bunching onion – as reported by PBUK earlier this year when we interviewed sales and marketing manager, Robin Bartels, during Fruit Logistica.
Another of its standard products is celery, a crop in which Tozer has 120 varieties belonging to three types of celery. Tozer continues to develop new celery seeds that are better adapted to the needs of the consumer.
Tozer Seeds, which is now present in England, the US and Spain, also has plans to open a new office in Australia by the end of 2017.