A “lettuce field day” was recently held at the sprawling Kalye Luntian Farm in Alfonso, Cavite, where various Salanova lettuce varieties were introduced.

By Julio P. Yap. JR
Photos courtesy of UNAHCO

 

Participants and guests included chefs, restaurant owners, farmer-entrepreneurs, businesspersons, hobbyists, and, of course, organic food lovers and vegetarians. According to Rijk Zwaan Area Manager for Africa and Southeast Asia Gerard Hulisz, the Salanova varieties are produced through a controlled scenario because their company wants to maintain its quality.

Various Salanova lettuce varieties are planted and cared for at Kalye Luntian Farm’s greenhouse, which covers over 1,650 square meters.

Among the Salanova lettuce varieties introduced at the event were Multi-Leaf Oakleaf Red, Multi-Leaf Oakleaf Green, Multi-Leaf Butter Head Red, Multi-Leaf Butter Head Green, Sweet Crisp Frisee Red, Sweet Crisp Frisee Green, Oakleaf, Lollo Bionda, Batavia Red, Batavia Green, Baby Gem, Small Cos, Ice Cos, Midi Cos, and Iceberg, among other tasty Salanova lettuce types.

For his part, ABC president Michael Caballes said Salanova stands for fresh and easy to prepare lettuce with great tasting baby-sized leaves.

Salanova comes in many forms and colors, which are all crunchy and taste fresh and delicious. “With the new combination of freshness and convenience, consumers are able to enjoy a totally new quality of lettuce,” Hulisz said. “For each type, we are constantly developing a range of varieties. These are interesting for consumers as well as for the processing industry.”

Ms. King Demilla, farmer, carefully arranges a bed of Salanova lettuce seedlings at the Kalye Luntian Farm.

He explained that there are two main types of Salanova lettuce. The Salanova Incised Leaf type is characterized by its deeply incised leaves with an attractive 3-D leaf structure, and a good shelf life. “With just one straight cut, all the leaves come away very simply and easily.”

The Multi-Leaf type is characterized by the large number of uniform, small leaves per head. The core of the Multi-Leaf type is easily removed with the specially developed “Salanova corer” or by cutting it out with a circular movement. “Within the main types, there are different (sub) types of lettuce,” Hulisz added.

He noted that the Salanova is supported with a lot of marketing activities. “We are also working with a worldwide Salanova network of Rijk Zwaan crops specialists, growers, processors, and retailers because we believe that information exchange is essential.” After the field tour and discussion of Philippine lettuce assortment, Slice’s Executive Chef Dino Dizon conducted a “Salad Presentation” where samples of various “tasty and easy to prepare” Salanova lettuce salads were distributed to participants and guests.

A row of the tasty Lollo Bionda lettuce variety in the Kalye Luntian Farm greenhouse.

Rijk Zwaan lettuce seeds are distributed in the Philippines by the Allied Botanical Corporation – a leading supplier, producer, and breeder of vegetable seeds in the country. ABC also hosted the Rijk Zwaan “Lettuce Field Day” event.

Michael Caballes said that with a solid program for localized breeding, ABC prides itself on its rigid selection and breeding for tropical vegetables. “ABC is a supplier of the best quality vegetable and flower seeds a grower can find in the Philippines.”

He added that ABC carries some of the world’s best-known brands in the horticulture business, with each brand being a symbol of excellence and specialization in its field, and the result of their meticulous and rigid screening and selection. “In partnership with our foreign suppliers, we pride ourselves on bringing the best seeds and fertilizer technology available to the Filipino farmers,” Caballes declared.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s June 2015 issue.