Florent Geerdens, René Nicolaï:

“A lot of small-sized Conference and Gala expected”

“Last week, the first growers started picking Conference. The quality of the pears is good, but sizing is a problem. In terms of size, there will be few 65s, but many sizes between 55 and 60,” says Florent Geerdens of tree nursery René Nicolaï. “I believe the first Conference will sell well, but this will be followed by a slight slump, as always. Prices will then recover again, and I’m convinced Conference will get good sales and a correct price this year.”

The grower doesn’t think Jonagold will have many problems regarding sizes. “Jonagold is picked mid-September, and we expect ideal sizes between 75 and 85. For Gala, sizes could become a problem, because it’s a smaller variety. In about ten days, we can start harvesting Gala. They’re now in their final growth spurt, but perhaps they’ll grow a bit larger. Their colour is starting to come in well now, and they’re nearly done ripening,” says Florent.

Last season’s Gala apples.

Storage capacity
Florent is happy that harvesting starts earlier than normal this year. “If we have a late harvest next year, it could result in a consumption period for top fruit that’s almost a month longer. That’s very positive.” Yet the grower does have some worries about storage capacity of the fruit. “The trees were hit by the heat. We don’t know what that has done to the fruit, and that’s why we’ll have to see how the storage’ll be this year.”

The WAPA figures weren’t a surprise to Florent. “We’ve come from a period of few apples, so that the trees were well-rested and had many flowers. Nor did we have any catastrophes in the field of hail and storm. Figures from abroad were to be as expected as well.” For prices of apples, the prices abroad have to first be looked at. “We in Belgium won’t be deciding in price, but others are. We’ll have to wait and see what the season will do.”

For more information:
Florent Geerdens
Boomkwekerij René Nicolaï
Lindestraat 22
3570 Alken, Belgium
F (+32) 11 31 65 26

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