In the south of the Netherlands the autumn holiday is already in full swing and that is noticeable in the leek market, where it is very quiet. "Around this time people always think of something other than leeks," says Gijs van den Oever of Van den Elzen Vegetable Processing. "The demand is not alarmingly more or less than years before and that can be seen in the prices."
According to Gijs, the supply is currently well balanced with demand. "We have had a period in which demand was more than supply, everyone was in terms of kilos," he looks back. “Now there are fewer kilos on the land than in previous years. The quality is very good. Due to the hot summer, many growers were struggling with "tripdruk", which led to a difficult start to the season for some. Leeks must always have enough water so that they are strong and therefore less susceptible to diseases. That is why we always ensure that our water management is in order. We only grow leeks as we are specialised in that. Our focus is really on the quality of our product. "
Water first, winter comes later
The consumer market is slowly starting to warm up again for leeks. “The leaf crops have all stopped, so around this time people start thinking about winter vegetables. Every year we ask ourselves: will there be a winter and, if so, when? If the winter comes early in the year, you will get a very different season than if it only comes in January or February. In my experience I have learned: a lot of water falls first and then winter comes. If you look at the rainfall recently, you could say that we are well on the way. ”
“Our leeks can still grow well in the fields; that is the art in quiet times like this. It is important to fine-tune your cultivation plan to the market and to customer demand. Then you don't have to do crazy things if someone else has too much leek. That way you can sell at the right time when demand increases again. "
Gijs prefers to compete on quality rather than price. “We pay close attention to this in our process: we have water cutters with which we extend the shelf life of the leeks. This provides us with a quality advantage compared to others. We don't want to win on price, but on quality, service and continuity. ”
Speaking of continuity: "The market will remain calm for the time being", Gijs expects. “The bottom of the Netherlands is now on holiday and the top will be next week. That does not change much in the current market. The temperatures did drop slightly, which is good for the winter vegetables. In the coming weeks we will be preparing ourselves for the winter period and we will switch gear at the right time. We can therefore keep the quality of the leek high. To keep this quality continuous, we have something in the pipeline ... But that is something for the next article." he concludes with a smile.