Lettuce   

Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan has extended its product range with a frilly, open lettuce type with the bite of iceberg lettuce. What makes this new Crystal lettuce unique is its exceptional suitability for use in hot dishes. This week, it has been presented to the Asian market during Rijk Zwaan’s Asian Leafy Days.

Rijk Zwaan is the global market leader in lettuce and regularly adds new leafy types to its product range. “Crystal lettuce could be the best-tasting lettuce we’ve ever launched,” says Crop Coordinator Lettuce Harry Turna. “Besides its sweetness and crunchiness, it stands out because of its high number of robust and slightly blistered leaves. They maintain their attractive texture and ‘bite’ even when they are combined with warm ingredients. This makes Crystal lettuce ideal for use in burgers and sandwiches, as well as in traditional Asian ‘hot pot’ dishes.”

In addition, the tasty, frilly Crystal lettuce leaves are very suitable for fresh, loose-leaf consumption. Hence this offers various opportunities for retailers, both for the whole-head market and for pre-washed, bagged salads. Its wide range of applications also makes Crystal lettuce interesting for other lettuce markets such as Australia and Europe.

First seeds in March 2018

Rijk Zwaan has so far developed one Crystal lettuce variety. It can be grown all year round and is especially suitable for hydroponic production in South East Asia, high-intensity lit crops and plant factories. Rijk Zwaan will be running practical trials of the variety with selected growers over the coming months, and seeds are expected to be commercially available from March 2018 onwards.

Asian Leafy Days

From 3-5 September, Rijk Zwaan presented Crystal lettuce to its partners during its Asia Leafy Days in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Besides Crystal lettuce, the event also showcased a number of other concepts and innovations in lettuce, such as Salanova®, Crunchy lettuce and KnoxTM. The event was attended by around a hundred growers and marketing partners from all over Asia.

In addition to taking tours of the demo field, visitors attended seminars about topics such as hydroponic cultivation, processing, marketing and retail. Bringing together partners from all over Asia, the event was a unique opportunity to inspire each other with local best practices.

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