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French supermarkets want residue-free onions

In Fontenay de Bossery, 60 kilometers southeast of Paris, the Vajou family runs the Val Légumes farm and trading company. Together with a group of contract farmers they grow seed onions on 123 acres of land. Half of the onions are mildew resistant, reports Akkerwijzer, "Supermarkets want residue free products, and we can supply that."

Until the late 1980's the Vajou family grew mainly grains and sugar beets on the red, loamy soil on the southern border of the Champagne region. But after a younger family member began taking the lead in the business, potatoes and onions appeared in their assortment. This was a good choice. In 1992 Val Légumes trading was founded and the Vajou family built a packing station for onions, shallots and garlic. Their potato crops have also grown. An important step was taken when a mechanical cooling system and small packing line were built for table stock potatoes in 2008.

Fully automatic packing line
The family is now another generation further. The youngest generation has clearly divided the tasks. Antoine Vajou is responsible for the onions and other allium vegetables, his sister, Sabine, takes care of the potato side of the company, and their father and uncles are slowly transferring the business over. They make the big decisions together. The last major investment was the construction of a fully automatic packing line in 2013. 

The Vajou family says that supplying to the top of the market is the most interesting. This is where the company puts much of their effort. This means that all parties have to have a Global Gap certificate. Many customers see the French origin as an advantage. Val Légumes sells approximately 80% of their products to France, "The fact that we grow the products ourselves is important for supermarkets, and as long as the quality is sufficient, we make sure that we can supply French onions. We present ourselves as a specialist who knows his product: we must live up to this."

MH
"Moreover, we clearly show that we do our best to grow our goods as environmentally friendly as possible. More and more supermarkets want residue free onions and potatoes. Only the preservative MH is allowed, other active substances are only allowed in very small quantities. This is why half of the onions that we grow are the mildew resistant variety, Hylander. Spraying is no longer necessary." The 5-10% loss in yield is accepted.


Source: Akkerwijzer

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