The ‘Urgurke’ (wild cucumber or “Wild cues” in the UK) has been nominated for the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2008 at the upcoming Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin. Introduced to the market in 2007, the “Wild Cues” are the result of a co-innovation project with Enza Seeds, Eosta B.V and Wageningen UR. Dark green with prickles on the skin, this special cucumber has been the recipient of a great deal of interest from the Dutch and international markets. The “Wild Cues” are also highly suitable for organic cultivation.
The successful research approach will be presented at the Fruit Logistica show in February. A selection was made from a research group of 58 relatively wild cucumber varieties and the choice fell on a cucumber which was appealing to both consumers and organic farmers. Several Wageningen UR departments took part in the research: The Dutch Centre for Genetic Resources (CGN), LEI and Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture. The research was financed by industry partners and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).
The ‘Urgurke’ or ‘Wild Cue’ is a genuine ‘forgotten’ cucumber variety: an old type of Asian cucumber with a dark green colour, normal size and rough, prickly skin. The variety was rediscovered due to its special characteristics and appearance, which make it an easily recognisable product at the retailer.
The scientists made their selection from a large, global range of cucumbers. Many of these cucumber varieties were tested for cultivation and presented to consumers, resulting in the selection of the best varieties. Eventually this led to the introduction of this wild cucumber, which was cultivated by three Dutch growers in 2007, led by Eef Maassen.
There has been interest in the wild cucumbers from a number of countries, including Germany and Great Britain. It has already been introduced to the German market as the ‘Urgurke’, while in Great Britain the cucumbers are known as ‘Wild Cues’.
The research report is available from the project leaders (Eric Poot and Arend Zeelenberg)