Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lechuga gourmet: from Colombia to the world

We all know that lettuce is very healthy since it is rich in water, vitamins, and minerals and low in calories. What few know is that Colombia is a pioneer in growing lettuce, especially in the cultivation of a new variety of the vegetable known as gourmet lettuce.

Based in the Colombian city of Zipaquirá, the HortiFresco Group, owned by the los Arenas family, has planted 11 hectares with one of the most coveted vegetables in the world: gourmet lettuce. Zipaquirá, located in the Bogotá savanna, is a great place for lettuce cultivation due to its warm climate. The production of gourmet lettuce, however, is quite complex and requires a lot of expertise and extensive care. At HortiFresco, 56 people dedicated to lettuce cultivation work together with agronomist and production director Marcela Castro to make sure more and more people can enjoy the healthy culinary delight that is gourmet lettuce.

Since 1999 the los Arenas family has been on a journey of agricultural innovation. Their company, which started out with five people, now employs 280 people and is continuously growing. HortiFresco is also expanding in terms of products and sales territory. Once a week, lettuce from HortiFresco is exported to Panama – and this is only the beginning: by 2030 the company wants to distribute its gourmet lettuce in five more countries.

Always innovating, HortiFresco has also recently cultivated a new type of gourmet lettuce, the baby lettuce. Like its “older siblings,” the baby lettuce, too, is very good for your health. Rich in in energy, fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C, it is a little powerhouse and a promising addition to the HortiFresco gourmet lettuce portfolio.

To adhere to international standards and regulations concerning safe and sustainable production and to fulfill the high expectations of consumers with regard to food origin and safety, the HortiFresco Group was certified by the Columbian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and sticks to the international quality requirements for gourmet lettuce stipulated by GLOBALG.A.P. This way the company not only operates according to the regulations in place in the different regions in Colombia, but is also fully prepared for future international business endeavors.


Did you know?

  • Lettuce has been cultivated for more than two thousand years – originally in China.
  • It is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E.
  • It has 18 calories per 100 g and contains 94% water.
  • It contains a lot of minerals, especially potassium (264 mg/100 g), calcium (35 mg), phosphorus (26 mg), and magnesium (16 mg), as well as trace elements (copper, manganese, nickel).
  • It contains a substance called lactucarium, which has soothing effects on the nervous system. This means that lettuce also has relaxing and sleep-enhancing properties.

(Sources: National University of Luján; National University of Colombia)

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