Market wants interesting shapes, colour and flavour' A whole new range of baby leaf salads may soon add their weight to the expanding prepared market, according to breeder Elsoms Seeds. Its open day at Spalding introduced a new trial category which included cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, herbs, black kale and red beet, all of which are considered suitable to meet the demands of a market worth £150m, and still expanding at 20% a year, according to trade sources. "The baby leaf market is looking for good quality leaves with interesting shapes, colour and flavour," says crop manager Colin Clarke. "We aim to identify fast growing varieties with three dimensional leaves which will generate bulk to the pack." Also, with growing interest in fresh and frozen herbs, the company has expanded its trials with German specialist Saatzucht Ascherslebner. Growers can now assess performance of perennials such as lovage, rue, and five types of chives. The open day also revealed some of the latest varieties of pointed cabbage which crop manager John Constable says are already revolutionising supply patterns. "Traditionally these were grown in Cornwall as a cash crop, but the quality was often poor and if the market was not right they were ploughed in. "Supermarkets are now looking for continuity and a higher quality green product with better stem/leaf ratios." New promising varieties have names like Jason, Excel and Sparkel. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}