Carrots for the fresh market
Jerada RZ is a dependable Nantes-type carrot variety that has had long-standing success in organic production in north-western Europe. Dutch crop specialist Daan Heidema explains why: “This early variety is extremely uniform with dark, upright leaves. This minimises leaf diseases and makes machine harvesting easier. Additionally, Jerada RZ is slow-bolting, which is an advantage in the case of early sowings in February and March. The variety is cultivated for the fresh segment and produces carrots that are very uniform in terms of both length and thickness. This results in a high net yield.”
Jerada RZ is also grown organically in Mediterranean climates. The best outcomes are achieved in dry conditions, according to Luis Salcedo, a crop specialist at Rijk Zwaan in Spain. “The results depend on the area and the weather in that year. The production is very high, but we occasionally see fungus problems in rainy seasons.”
Hestan RZ is a relatively new addition to the Rijk Zwaan assortment. In north-western Europe, this Nantes-type carrot is sown in the spring, harvested in the autumn and then stored until the next spring. “Organic growers have tested this robust carrot extensively over the past years and their feedback is very positive. As a result, this variety is being produced on a bigger scale every year,” says Heidema. “Just as with Jerada RZ, the carrots are very uniform in terms of length and thickness, which generates a high net yield. Hestan RZ has dark, upright leaves which makes the variety less susceptible to fungal diseases.”
Fidra RZ is the reference variety for organic production in Mediterranean climates, Salcedo explains: “The variety has good leaves with a strong and intense colour. The carrots have a high uniformity and very high quality. Yields are usually good, but a lot depends on the weather in that year.”
Ellis RZ is a promising new variety for warmer climates. “We are conducting the first tests for the organic market this year. Last year we liked its high uniformity and good leaf behaviour.”
Carrots for the processing industry
Karotan RZ is one of the varieties recommended by Javier Arbizu, a specialist for the processing industry in Spain. “For the organic market, we select strong and vigorous varieties that have good growth at a low nutrient level, and of course varieties with a high tolerance again diseases. Karotan is a robust plant with strong, dark green leaves. The variety performs very well in extreme weather conditions. The carrots are conical with a very dark and homogeneous orange colour and contain a high level of dry matter, sugar and carotene.”
Wolin RZ is the second variety that Arbizu advises for organic cultivation for the processing industry. “This Flakkee-type variety has strong germination power and homogeneous growth in the field. I recommend it for later sowings, starting in October. The vigorous plant has very good tolerance against various diseases and a high yield potential. The dark orange carrots contain a high level of sugar and carotene.”
Monty RZ is an appealing beetroot variety for both the fresh market and the processing industry. Heidema: “What sets Monty RZ apart is its high Brix value, which is always higher than other varieties. This beetroot has a deep red colour and excellent internal quality, and it produces a high yield in terms of weight. Moreover, Monty RZ has strong leaves and good root development, which makes it an interesting option for organic growers,” states Heidema.
For Mediterranean climates, Salcedo also recommends Betty RZ in addition to Monty RZ: “Betty RZ is a vigorous and fast-growing variety. The upright leaves are very resistant to diseases, so organic growers can work with a weeding machine instead of fungicide treatments.” Other distinguishing characteristics of this variety are its uniformity, soft skin and the intense red colour both internally and externally.