Dutch asparagus growers are moving towards the end of the season. It has been a bizarre and challenging season, says Will Teeuwen of Teboza. He reports on a season in which all kinds of situations occurred: tight availability of personnel, packaging at a meter and a half, high retail orders and an Easter weekend that unfortunately coincided with a tight availability. "I am hopeful that the catering industry will take the asparagus in June."
"We had to find our way through the new regulations since 15 March. The availability of staff was really an issue. Not all employees were able or dared to come. Fortunately, we were able to get our asparagus out of the ground. Here and there, a number of plots were never harvested because the staff were not there or because logistics could not be done," Will reviews. "Outside, it was still possible to arrange to work at a distance of one and a half meters. This was more challenging for transport to the field and the packaging process."
"It took some effort to find a way to get orders ready on time. We are therefore very grateful to our customers and relations for the understanding shown. Fortunately, it all turned out well. And we certainly are not dissatisfied with the sales. Retail has bought at least the volume that was forecast in advance and sometimes even more than that, thereby allowing us to cope reasonably well with the loss of our catering and food service customers. Many people wanted to eat more luxuriously at home and our product group benefited from this", observes Will.
"The asparagus is never a product that is eaten daily, but in difficult times consumers often give themselves a meal with asparagus. Over the years we have had several crises, but they have usually had little impact on asparagus consumption," said the grower. "But of course we hope to never experience anything like the Corona virus again. I do expect consumers to be more aware of local food and health. I hope we can keep that up."
"In itself it was quite good weather for the asparagus. We did not have overly warm weather. We did have some cold nights, which led to the collapse of supply, especially during the Easter weekend in which demand is at its highest. You can do all kinds of analysis on that, but it has just been an unfortunate combination of circumstances and nobody can do anything about it," Will says, soberly.
He expects to have sufficient asparagus available until June 24. The early plots are now going out and the volumes are now decreasing daily. Prices will certainly not go down as a result. "Last year we had a very early season, now we are not late either, but we are seven to ten days behind last year. For the regular demand, we have enough product available and we hope that the catering industry will also be able to enjoy the tail end of the season in June ", Will concludes.