Jordi Fijnheer, Van Oers United:
"More demand for extended Brussels sprout season"
An increasing number of retailers want Brussels sprouts on their shelves year round. This is possible by working with the correct combination of varieties, cultivation areas, and storage techniques. The demand during the winter is traditionally much higher than in the summer. "More than double, though it remains a cooking vegetable. Innovative uses for Brussels sprouts in salads, for instance, are still in their infancy", says Jordi Fijnheer of Van Oers United, which is based in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, cultivation programmes run from mid-July to mid-March. The end of the Dutch season is, therefore, in sight. It will then switch over to locations in Morocco and then, France. As a back-up, Van Oers can supply so-called frozen Brussels sprouts. "When it is freezing outside we do this to ensure a smooth transition to the import season."
Jordi: "Brussels sprouts keep getting more popular. We want to be able to offer good quality, fresh Brussels sprouts throughout the year. This will connect consumers to the product for as long as possible. We do our own marketing and promotion in order to achieve this. A number of Dutch retailers offer Brussels sprouts year round. We have also seen that German retailers want to extend their programmes as much as possible. Last year at around this time, we had stopped supplying this product. This year, there is still a demand."
Three cultivation areas and the 'frozen' Brussels sprouts ensure that Van Oers has a year-round supply. "Frozen Brussels sprouts are a service we gladly provide for our customers. In the Autumn, we put the Brussels sprouts, with stem and all, in cold storage. We spray them with water every few hours, which then forms an ice layer around the product. If needed, these Brussels sprouts can be slowly defrosted, harvested and processed. Van Oers gets standard Brussels sprouts between mid-March and mid-June from Morocco. In June and July, we then switch over to French cultivation areas. The Dutch programmes then run from mid-July to mid-March."
From week 10 -12, Van Oers stops harvesting in the Netherlands. Van Oers considers the past season to have been a normal, stable one. "In general, we had the biggest issue with thrips. This, however, varied greatly from area to area. Cabbage root flies were far less worrisome this season than last year", concludes Jordi.
Publication date: 2/23/2018
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