Seed specialist said its new offerings respond to challenges like climate change while meeting market and consumer demands

Orangelup cantaloupes, Tyrion, Saniara, and Rio Grande watermelons, Orange Summer pumpkins and Vaiana butternut squash were among the new varieties showcased by Enza Zaden at its annual Melon & Pumpkin House Fair, held last week in Murcia.

Enza Zaden melon days

The company said its breeding efforts are focused on helping growers tackle future challenges, from extreme climate change to water and resource shortages, while meeting market and consumer demands.

This includes developing resistant portfolios that guarantee high yield, as well as considering taste and shelf-life to ensure added value for all players in the supply chain.

In melons, Enza Zaden’s portfolio continues to grow across all major types. Emphasising the importance of flavour, taste, and texture to meet consumer expectations, the seed specialist said its breeding programme targets disease resistance, specifically common issues like aphids and powdery mildew.

“Resistant portfolios promote more sustainable farming as well as fewer residues to consumers. Additionally, Enza Zaden ensure its programmes maintain quality during transport and have an extended shelf life, while retaining freshness and taste,” the company said.

One of the novelties presented was Orangelup, a cantaloupe variety described as having “an intense orange flesh colour, amazing taste, excellent shelf life, and resistance to powdery mildew and aphids”.

To address one of the biggest issues in the sector, Enza Zaden said it is constantly working towards traits that can help reduce labour costs with varieties that show easy settings, great field holding ability, and clear harvesting indicators. This reduces the number of harvesting moments and, consequently, labour costs. Hardiness is another trait that the company is progressively incorporating into its programmes, ensuring that varieties can thrive under various environmental conditions and maintain consistent quality and high yields despite changing climates.

Already a significant player in the US market with its star variety Cracker Jack, Enza Zaden is now entering the watermelon market in Europe. Its varieties include Tyrion, Saniara, and Rio Grande—a seedless black mini, a seedless sugar baby, and a seedless crimson, respectively.

Enza Zaden also showcased its expanding portfolio of pumpkins and squash. The company is the market leader in red pumpkin in Northern Europe with its star varieties Orange Summer and Flexi Kuri. It also has a large portfolio in butternut varieties focusing on profitable quality and adaptability to different crop cycles and uses, such as fresh, fresh-cut, and processing.

“This year’s star varieties include Vaiana, a butternut that stands out for its internal quality, intense flesh colour, and Waltham shape, together with a higher net yield. In other segments, Spellcast is a new variety resembling a Kent type with the organoleptic characteristics of a butternut,” the company said.

The next opportunity to see Enza Zaden’s newest portfolios will be in September during the company’s annual Discovery Field Days in Holland, France, and Germany.