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What will be Zuurbier's Next Top Variety?

"It's one of the most difficult questions in our industry: what will you plant?" That applies particularly to rose growers, and with Rosaline Zuurbier and colleagues facing that question again, the company decided to host a comparison trial. A dozen breeders sent in varieties in a range of colors, so they could be compared by color (without knowing which is which, of course). Traders and breeders were then invited to choose "Zuurbier's Next Top Varieties".

Rosaline Zuurbier, Marja Oudhuis and Bert Middelkoop

Zuurbier grows a wide range of roses on about 35 hectares in Naivasha, Kenya. As we speak, a number of changes are taking place. A 20-hectare plot was bought from the neighbors, and construction of a new 9-hectare greenhouse is taking off. It will have to be filled with roses soon, but a number of existing compartments are also in need of something new. They're looking for a new yellow rose, for instance, and 4 hectares of red (Prestige) are also about to be replaced. A third novelty is the introduction of a new pink variety, the Pink Athena (by Kordes Roses).

The Pink Athena

All roses come from Kenya and are not commercially available yet in large quantities. "See it as a sort of motor show", sales manager Bert Middelkoop explains. "If you want to choose a new car, you need to visit different showrooms. At a show, however, they're all gathered together. It's the same with roses: everyone has nice flowers, but only when putting them all together in one place you can really compare."

Of course expert advice was more than welcome, which is why traders and breeders were invited. Everyone was given pen and paper, and kindly requested to write down their comments. As an added advantage, or perhaps as the main reason to organize this event, suppliers and customers got a chance to get together.

Zuurbier is a well-known name in the Dutch rose landscape. In 2001, the farm Bilashaka, Swahili for "without doubt", was founded. Around 15 different varieties are grown there, amounting to a total of 80 million stems annually. They're one of a few growers to heat their greenhouse, which combats mildew and botrytis, as well as limiting the use of crop protection. The product is flown to the Netherlands, where most of the stems are processed at the company's own location, right next to flower hub Schiphol airport. The company also has a cultivation site with peonies and seed production in Heerhugowaard, also in the Netherlands.

For more information:
Zuurbier & Co.
Mijnsherenweg 33
1433 AP Kudelstaart

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