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Frost damage in organic cherries remains limited

"Next week, we can deliver our first large volumes of organic strawberries"

Organic cherry growers have successfully protected their crops from frost damage. With the current summer temperatures, the brief frost period of last week seems far behind us, yet many are still assessing the exact impact of the freezing cold. "For cherries, we can say it didn't wreak havoc," explains Gunther De Vadder from BelOrta. "Overall, there's more fruit than last season."

The bio-specialist doesn't want to talk about difficulties. Instead, he is very optimistic about the upcoming organic cherry season, which he says is starting earlier than in previous years. "We are currently about 15 days ahead of other years, which means we can offer the first Samba variety between June 15 and 20. That's actually ideal. Last year, we couldn't sell the first volumes until the end of June/first week of July. By then, the vacation period is in full swing in Belgium. Everyone leaves for their holiday destinations, resulting in a 30 percent drop in sales. No matter what you do for the rest of the season, you can't make up for that. So, if you can start in mid-June when everyone is still around, it all moves along much more smoothly," says Gunther.

"Moreover, they look beautiful. Especially the Samba variety has more fruit than other years, but that actually applies to all varieties. Even the frost hasn't thrown a spanner in the works. Last Monday, we closed the hail nets, which also have an intermediate cloth. When they are closed, this ensures that the temperature underneath rises a bit. In the end, it was locally below -3 degrees, but I suspect it didn't wreak havoc. People were well-prepared. This also applies to the hail. It was mainly a mix of hail and rain, so the impact was less severe. On the pears, we saw some leaf damage and a few spots on the pears themselves, but I hope that will still grow out. Scab damage will occur, unfortunately. We are going to experience this with both apples and pears. We can already confirm that, unfortunately."

First organic strawberries
Moreover, Gunther notes that next week marks the start of the first major deliveries of their first organic strawberries. "Last Wednesday, everything was still bright green, but with the current temperatures, the ripening process has accelerated, especially in the tunnels. As a result, we were able to start deliveries to smaller customers, but next week, the first orders will go to Udea. If this weather continues, we will quickly see a peak in volumes. The quality looks very neat as well. Just a slight pressure from aphids, but we hardly see any of that anymore."

For more information:
Gunther De Vadder
Mechelsesteenweg 120
B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium
Tel.: +32 155 655 291
[email protected]

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