iStem: the Eat-it-All Cauliflower
Get to Know Why Growers, Retailers, and Consumers Love iStem
For the health-conscious consumer or anyone looking to add more vegetables to their diet, there’s a new, convenient option to consider. With a sweet, nutty taste, and a crunch you won’t forget, Syngenta’s iStem® cauliflower is ready for the taking. For growers, it provides familiarity and convenience for planting and harvesting.
“We see a lot of potential for this product, especially in the convenience market where consumers are looking for something that’s quick and easy to cook,” said Lotfi Bani, Syngenta Key Account Manager, Food and Value Chain. “Consumers are looking for something different – something out-of-the-ordinary and iStem helps meet those expectations and give growers a new market to supply.”
First introduced in commercially 2021, iStem has received numerous awards for innovation and quality from various contests around the world, including Fruit Logistica’s Bronze Innovation Award.
How to Grow iStem
Because iStem is easy to grow, it could make a valuable addition to any operation, especially those who are already growing cauliflower.
"Growers will find it's similar to growing traditional cauliflower. It fits nicely into rotations if you're growing standard cauliflower or broccoli. Its growth cycle is similar in timing, crop protection and management when compared to a standard cauliflower."
- Louis Stokes, Technical Sales Representative with Syngenta Vegetable Seeds UK
Right now, iStem is available in parts of Europe and has trials in South Africa. Consumers and growers can expect this product to grow around the world, with the more countries in line for trials for growers and consumers alike.
What is iStem Cauliflower
iStem is the first edible stem cauliflower. It has the benefit of a high yield for growers, and appeals to consumers with its sweet, nutty curds, high fiber and immune-boosting vitamin C, and can be eaten whole with no preparation.
Whether it's raw, steamed, sautéed, or cooked any other way it's sure to be a great-tasting option for consumer plates. For growers it's an easy opportunity to consider because it's grown just like traditional cauliflower. It's a low-waste product because consumers can eat the stem and the leaves, meaning less waste in the field and at home.
The demand for cauliflower is growing around the world, including for processing, from pizza crust to rice replacement, consumers are clamoring for more. So, it's important for growers to make sure they're finding the varieties that help meet that demand, while making cauliflower a tasty and easy choice for consumers.
iStem Achieves Bronze Innovation Award
In 2022 iStem®, was awarded the bronze trophy in Fruit Logistica’s prestigious Innovation Awards . Fruit Logistica is the worldwide leading trade show for the global fresh produce industry.
Creating a new variety, including a new look to a crop, takes time and research. Syngenta breeders have been working with iStem for eight years to introduce and continue to improve the crop for growers.
“It was a mixture of luck and smart breeders who saw an opportunity in iStem varieties,” said Louis Stokes, Technical Sales Representative with Syngenta Vegetable Seeds. “We were examining different types of cauliflower that were growing taller so they could be harvested mechanically. During that breeding program we discovered varieties with side shoots and realized this could be a great option for growers and consumers looking for a bite-sized cauliflower.”