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Naeldebakken enters the world of ornamental ediblesDanish ornamental grower Naeldebakken recently entered a totally new world: the cultivation of ornamental edible vegetables. In 2016 they introduced the indoor tomato plant of Dalina Genetics and recently added the seedless pepper. "We did not find any sweet seedless pepper on the market yet and at the same time, it is the next step in the Kitchen Minis range, where we want to add new products into the 'grow your own' segment for in- and outdoor use", says Bent Hansen, Sales Manager at Naeldebakken.
Bent Hansen at the IPM Essen 2017
Kitchen Minis range
An ornamental edible plant that can be grown indoors, in the windowsill, year round. That's the idea behind this new concept called Kitchen Minis. The varieties in this concept are bred by Dalina Genetics; the indoor tomato, which can be grown and harvested year round, was the first plant in their concept. The seedless pepper, which was added to the Kitchen Minis range recently, needs more light and will produce fruits in April-October and will be a green plant during the winter period. "The sweet seedless pepper, like the tomato plant, stays compact and is delivered with 4-5 fruits of 15-25 grams, and can give more than 50 fruits with good care", explains Hansen.
Whole new world
Naeldebakken has been growing ornamental plants for decades - cultivating vegetables is something new for them. "We entered a totally new world. It has to be an isolated production, strictly away from our ornamental plants, and we are not using any pesticides whatsoever." The tomatoes are currently being cultivated on 1 ha, and the seedless peppers on 0.5 ha in their greenhouse in Denmark.
Tomato plants in the greenhouse
Before putting them on the commercial market, the plants have been trialed carefully. "In close cooperation with Dalina Genetics, we invested in developing a technique that keeps the plants short, healthy and full of sweet fruits with a lot of brix. Then, we made a selection and tested the final product on the end consumer afterwards." The seedless peppers, for example, were trialed for about two years before selling them commercially. Last year, they tested the final product on the end consumer at several food festivals in Denmark, deciding to put it on the market as the reactions were very positive."
Naeldebakken has been selling the indoor tomatoes for one year now and the demand for the product increased sharply. "We started carefully through the year of 2016 but the demand increased rapidly, so that we have increased the production with around 200%. For 2017, we will produce around 750,000 units." And for the seedless pepper, of which 200,000 units will be produced this year, Hansen has high hopes too. "We have already sold the first plants and are already getting larger contracts. We expect a very quick increase in production", he says.
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