Rijk Zwaan has announced the launch of its first three commercial squash varieties, a move it has described as a valuable addition to its already broad range of vegetables.
The breeding company said that with the move, it offers a complete market solution under its own identity, with "outstanding fruit quality", as it looks to actively improve the financial performance of squash growers.
Squash is produced globally and the popularity of the crop is still growing. Rijk Zwaan noted that it had conducted "extensive research" into market wants and needs.
As a new market entrant, the company is keen to offer solutions for the entire chain, from growers through to consumers.
Rijk Zwaan’s first three varieties – Calawinter, Calabonita and Calagreen – are cylindrical dark green breeds.
According to the group, Calawinter RZ is suitable for indoor winter production, while Calabonita RZ, thanks to its intermediate resistance to powdery mildew, can be grown indoors and outdoors in spring, summer and early autumn.
Calagreen RZ will complement Calabonita with higher vigour in the protected segment, the company added.
"When breeding squash varieties, Rijk Zwaan’s top priority is harvest reliability," the group explained. "These first three varieties offer a good yield and a thorough package of natural resistances against diseases and pests, as will all future varieties.
"Furthermore, since squash is a relatively labour-intensive crop, the company is developing plants with fruits that can be harvested more efficiently in order to contribute to better financial performance for its customers."
Rijk Zwaan's breeding team has focused on the dark-green segment, although the first varieties in the white and yellow segments will follow shortly, which will enable Rijk Zwaan to respond to the rising popularity of mixed packs.