"On the Belgian market, alternative lettuce varieties and head lettuce did well", Ortwin Ceulemans from Crotoni told us. "Green garden lettuce went for €1 apiece, red garden lettuce for €0.85, Lollo Rossa €0.75, Lollo Bionda €0.45 and head lettuce went towards € 0.80 apiece. This is a very good for the time of the year, although Lollo Bionda isn't performing that well. There is also quite a bit of product available on the market."
The varieties of lettuce currently on the market are greenhouse grown. "With the outdoor products we have problems due to the hot and dry weather. Until about the 2nd-3rd week of October we had to irrigate and after that it was dry for a long time. It's actually just been raining again recently. By the second week of November everything was finished and then we went into the greenhouse," says Ortwin.
"The quality of the lettuce varieties from the greenhouse isn't great. Because the warm weather stayed for a long time, we suffered from high temperatures in the greenhouse. This makes the lettuce grow well, but the leaves are somewhat weaker and the shelf life a little shorter. The warm weather also caused the soil to be more susceptible to disease than normal," Ceulemans said.
According to the grower and trader, Christmas isn't celebrated as much as a few years ago. "We no longer see the demand boom during the holiday season. I'm not sure what the reason is, but it's not like it used to be," says Ortwin. "There also isn't a type of lettuce that stands out in terms of demand during the holiday season. All varieties are about the same as the period before. We see that the alternative lettuce varieties are used more as decoration on the plate and that head lettuce is actually eaten."
"We haven't seen very high peaks in the demand for lettuce in recent years. The demand is more stabilized throughout the year. We do have a brief but clear peak when it first gets warm in spring and people start to barbecue for the first time. During Easter the demand is a little higher, but the fixed peak times aren't so common anymore," Ortwin concludes.