Sakata Seed America Prepares for California Field Days, Divests Onion Breeding Program
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MORGAN HILL, CA & CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - Sakata Seed America (Sakata) has two things to announce: that its onion seed breeding program was sold to Zaad Holdings Limited (Zaad) and that it will be hosting its annual California Field Days in a few short weeks.
“We are excited about the partnership to market these genetics globally,” said John Nelson, Vice-President of Sakata. “Zaad has an outstanding reputation and capabilities that will enable them to expand production and supply channels in the onion market.”
Zaad is a vertically-integrated agriculture company headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. According to a press release, Dr. Sean Fort—the program’s breeder for over 18 years—will continue onion breeding efforts for the company. Sakata will maintain the right of first refusal to market the acquired commercial onion genetics in their existing territories.
Zaad explained in the press release that it would continue to advance innovation and introduce quality new genetics to the market through the established breeding program and will supply the program’s seed moving forward.
“We at Zaad look forward to continuing to expand the genetics of this program. In addition, we are pleased about our new marketing partnership with Sakata, which is a win-win for both companies,” said Antonie Jacobs, CEO of Zaad Holdings.
Sakata is also excited to host their traditional California Field Days, which is a company tradition that has been going on for the past 32 years. Visitors join Sakata staff at both the Salinas and Woodland, California, facilities to explore an array of Sakata fruits and vegetables in the field.
“We have been hosting this week-long event since 1986. It’s our largest event of the year, and the one we look forward to most. Being able to experience the best of our products right in the field with our customers and growers really puts what we do day in and day out into perspective,” stated Justin Davis, Sakata's Sales and Marketing Associate Director.
California Field Days hosts seed distributors, growers, retail, foodservice professionals, and Sakata subsidiaries. In Salinas, the trials focus on cool crops, such as broccoli, baby leaf, beet, chard, and spinach.
Sakata’s new Woodland Innovation Center—comprised of over 200 acres in Yolo County—recently completed Phase one completion and will host all warm crops: melon, onion, pepper, tomato, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon.
“The new Woodland Innovation Center is an exciting culmination of infrastructure and land that we are continuing to develop over upcoming years. Currently, we have completed work on an office space, farm shop, washery, head house, and greenhouses on the property. It’s truly a sight to behold, and we’re looking forward to showing our customers and guests the progress!” Davis continued.
With the trials comes new literature designed to assist and enhance the Sakata product experience. Last year, Sakata released the Broccoli Master Guide in Salinas. This year, Sakata is excited to release the Specialty Tomato Master Guide at its Woodland trials. The Specialty Tomato Guide is an all-encompassing piece of literature designed to answer any questions regarding Sakata specialty tomatoes, as well as snacking tomato trends.
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