United Kingdom

Robert Oostveen: ‘Romance is the best of two worlds’

Join us in celebrating 10 years of Romance F1 and our Passion for carrots! During the year 2020-2021, BASF will publish stories related to the anniversary of romance through various channels. This time our Senior Breeder shares his story about the foundation of Romance.

This year is the tenth year since BASF Vegetable Seeds introduced the carrot variety Romance F1. A great moment to look back and discuss the future of this variety. And who better to do that with than Robert Oostveen, who has been working for BASF Vegetable Seeds for over twenty years. It was Oostveen and his team, who laid the breeding basis of Romance. “I am very proud of that and expect it will remain a stable variety for many growers.”

Before a carrot variety is introduced to the market, a sufficient number of years of good experience is needed. This is also the case with Romance. For that, let us go back to the 90’s of the last century, where the breeding basis of Romance was founded. The selection for high quality root characteristics became more and more important. “In the early 2000’s, we had the intention to make a variety with good quality characteristics and less breaking susceptibility for the South-European market”, says Oostveen.


Founding of Nunhems Romance

It was in October 2004 in Les Landes, Southern France, that Oostveen saw this new variety for the first time. “I noticed the very uniform intense orange cylindrical roots together with a dark upright foliage”, tells the experienced breeder. “Even though it looked very promising from the start, we took a substantial number of years for trialling this new variety in many markets and growing conditions. And every year it confirmed it’s potential”. Oostveen is convinced that a strong combination of characteristics made the success of Romance. For the organic market for example it is so attractive because of the strong upright foliage, the resistance to foliar diseases and the relatively fast-growing cycle. “Together with the very uniform attractive roots this is the reason why it is becoming the standard in the market in this segment.”


Trust of customers

Oostveen is very proud of the development of Romance the last ten years. But he wants to express that the success has many fathers. “One of them is a stable dedicated long-term focused breeding team. Furthermore, the dedication from product development, production and sales has had an enormous contribution. But most importantly, we have many customers who trust Romance and are willing to take it further in their business.”


Next generation

The senior breeder tells he has many special memories of Romance. One of them is the award for “best variety in trial” for two years in a row during the open day organized by the BCGA (British Carrot Growers Association) in the United Kingdom. Oostveen has also an interesting comparison between Romance and hope. “If you get to know both parents of Romance, you realize that these parents are not particularly beautiful. So Romance is a true hybrid containing what I would describe as ‘the best of both worlds’. In other words: ‘There is always hope for the next generation’.”



Oostveen has an optimistic view about the future. He foresees a big role for sustainability. “In the coming ten years we will continue investing heavily in sustainability for our customers. That means

we will breed new varieties with improved resistances to many diseases. But above all, I hope Romance remains a stable variety for many growers.”


Join us in celebrating 10 years of Romance.

Romance for everyone, Passion everywhere!