Belgians no longer have to leave their country to get that true summer feeling. BelOrta is bringing summer to people's kitchens. This cooperative has introduced Belgian-grown melons.
Earlier this month, the local media reported that, suddenly, there was a field of Charentais (melons). This was among the many fruit farms in the rural, sloping region of Hoeselt in Belgium. In recent weeks, many passer-byes and cyclists had to stop. They needed to make sure their eyes weren't deceiving them. And it's true. There were a few years of small-scale trials in testing fields. But this year, the first melons were cultivated on a larger production scale. Last week, the first specimens fruits were harvested and delivered to clients.
BelOrta will market this all-new line of melons under the BelOmelon name. That's a clear reference to this summer fruit's Belgian origin. Up to now, melons have only been grown on a large scale in more southern regions of Europe. These include Southern France, Spain, Italy, and countries further south. "We want to diversify and innovate our Belgian fruit varieties. With this in mind, tests have been running for several years at several trial centers,"," says BelOrta's Glenn Sebregts.
"These were being done on varieties suited to cultivation in our regions. There was quite a lot of research done. Our fruit growers also have a lot of know-how. These together led to this - the first Belgian Charentais type of melon. This new summer favorite is a nice, important step for our growers. That is toward diversifying the range of locally farmed fruit and vegetables," concludes Sebregts.