Mario Vanhellemont, Fruit Vanhellemont:

"The Morgana must replace the Pink Lady in Belgium"

Belgian fruit grower, Mario Vanhellemont, was immediately taken with how good the first Morgana apple he tried, tasted. Fruit Vanhellemont, therefore, planted half a hectare of Morgana trees last year.  This family business did so along with the Belgian fruit auctioneer. Fruit Vanhellemont is based in Meensel-Kiezegem in Belgium. This farm's Morgana apple was premiered on Friday. It was introduced to the public at the 'Markt van de Smaak' market in Flanders. Visitors could get their first taste of the Morgana. According to Mario, it tastes like more.

Jeannine Nijs, André Vanhellemont, and Mario Vanhellemont. 

The first of these apples were picked at Fruit Vanhellemont's orchards about six weeks ago. "It is only the trees' first year. The production was, therefore, very low. We usually sell our products via the Belgian fruit auction. But, since there were so few apples, we could use the harvest to promote this apple. We were, therefore, at the 'Markt van de Smaak' in Leuven. We wanted to introduce the Morgana to consumers,” explains Mario.

Mario has been convinced of this apple's potential since the very start. "I cannot get enough," he says, laughing. "The Morgana is totally different from the other apples. It has a light, red-orange color, and a more exotic, sweet flavor. It is nice to fill your stand or shelves with something new like this."

According to Mario, the first reactions to the Morgana apple were excellent. Growers have high hopes. "We want to offer the Morgana in the right way - a product of consistently good quality, taste, and firmness. The aim is to have a uniform product. This uniformity is, fortunately, easily achieved with a club variety."

Gert Vanhellemont, André Vanhellemont, Jeannine Nijs, and Mario Vanhellemont.

Mario is also convinced the Morgana will be able to compete with the Pink Lady. “When it comes to taste, I can honestly say I am not a great Pink Lady fan. But, it has good marketing, with a consistent look and feel. We want to achieve this with the Morgana too. When people buy a Morgana, they must be sure the Morgana they buy the following day will taste exactly the same. Just like with the Pink Lady now. The Morgana must simply replace the Pink Lady,” he says with determination.

There was a lot of interest in Fruit Vanhellemont's Morgana apples at the 'Markt van de Smaak' in Leuven. Belgium.

A tale of different countries
Fruit Vanhellemont now sells a limited amount of Morgana apples in its two stores already. Mario expects this variety to be found in supermarkets next year. "This, of course, depends on the yields. Various growers have planted these trees in the past year already. More should do so in the coming year. We are going to expand to no less than two hectares. To sell something, you have to have ample supply, after all."

"The future supply is a tale of different countries. The Morgana is a club, to which Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy belong. In each of these countries, there is a single cooperative that manages this club variety. As a grower, I think it is important that not only the cub benefits. The growers must also benefit. We must work together to get a fair price," concludes the Belgian grower.

For more information:
Mario Vanhellemont
Fruit Vanhellemont
17 Heibos Street
3391 Meensel-Kiezegem, BE
Tel: +32 (0) 166 332 35

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