Grütt

Crop: Heliantus tuberosus L. (Jerusalem artichoke )

In 1982 this Jerusalem artichoke was discovered in Rüedisbach canton Berne as a striking single plant in a variety comparison of different varieties of German origin. The tuber shape and the proportion of marketable tubers were particularly striking. Whether it was a then existing variety whose tuber had gotten into the process or a mutation of a single tuber remains unclear. The farmer of the ‘Grütt’ farm subsequently multiplied the line for 10-15 years and selected it for homogeneity. It finally found its way into the organic farms of the Swiss Seeland. The plant of this variety develops relatively large leaves and is rather late in harvest. Round oval to block-shaped tuber with light, smooth skin.

Cultivation System: ND.

Geographical Information

Country: Switzerland

Currently this landrace is grown and conserved in situ in its original site (i.e. where it has been first collected).


Farmer(s) description:

This is a classic example for the development of a landrace in modern times. The farmer discovered a special plant among others and decided to multiply it. It became a staple of his organic production of Jerusalem artichoke, and over the years other organic farmers of the Swiss Seeland region started a production with this landrace.


Propagation system: Clonal

Multiplication procedures and consequences on landrace diversity:

The Jerusalem artichocke is propagated vegetatively. From November or in spring, the runners are excavated or large tubers are divided and transplanted. Crossbreeding with other Jerusalem artichoke varieties is possible, however due to the late bloom in Switzerland, seeds will not ripen in time before winter. Jerusalem artichoke is very productive in producing many tubers. The plants are not susceptible to any harmful pests in Switzerland. And tubers have a strong winter hardiness. Multiplication therefore is very easy, if anything the spreading must be controlled in order to prevent an uncontrolled dissemination of the plants.

Management plan existence:

There is currently no specific management plan for the conservation other than to keep contact with the original owner of the accession, and to start planting the landrace by other seed savers known to ProSpecieRara. Due to the current estimation of the landrace’s use on farms, its conservation is pretty safe for the next years.

Added Values

Market - existing and novel:

‘Grütt’ is marketed locally in the Seeland region of the Canton Bern mainly by organic farmers which obtained the tubers directly from the ‘Grütt’ farm. Additionally, some farmers even deliver tubers of the landrace to supermarket chains. However, the landrace’s name is probably never communicated with the produce, as the crop in general is not well known to consumers, and therefore the variety’s name is not very important to marketing.

Others (e.g. commercial/geographical brands or special traits):

ND.


As long as the market of Jerusalem artichoke remains a niche market, there is probably no development of new varieties. As this landrace seems to be one that is totally fine in producing compared to other grown varieties, its further use is currently not in danger.

To be sure for getting this landrace, tubers are best obtained with the farmer who discovered and spread it. The contact is known to the ProSpecieRara foundation. Otherwise, the landrace actually is in use rather widely among organic farmers, but mostly without a specific designation.

Case study provided by ProSpecieRara (PSR), Switzerland.