The Dutch are working towards the end of the year. But, in Spain, they're making the necessary preparations for the new Sweet and Sunny strawberry season. It will start in early 2021. Cas van Loon of The Greenery Retail, in the Netherlands, discusses these preparations.
Cas is The Greenery Retail's soft fruit buyer. So, he's closely involved in the preparations for these strawberries' import season. "I studied at the HAS University of Applied Sciences. After that, I gained experience at Bakker Barendrecht. There I purchased grapes, melons, and stone fruit. Then I worked in Spain for two years at various fruit and vegetable companies."
"I not only learned the language. I also learned a lot about Spanish cultivation techniques. That helps me, every day, in my current position as The Greenery Retail's soft fruit buyer. I focus on blueberry, strawberry, cherry, and cranberry imports. I take care of organic blueberry purchasing too.
People want to be sure of the best-tasting fruit
Consumer need led to the development of Sweet and Sunny strawberries. "People want to eat increasingly healthy food. But they don't want to have to wonder if it's tasty. Sweet and Sunny's soft fruit is always sun-ripened and from the best varieties. That makes the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and other berries deliciously sweet and extra juicy. They've been specially selected from the best Dutch, Spanish, and South American growers. With the Sweet and Sunny brand, consumers are, therefore, assured of the tastiest soft fruit all year round," explains Cas.
The Greenery is always looking for the best soft fruit varieties. They do so along with farmers, agronomists, and international breeders. "We test new varieties. These are included in cultivation concepts and then sold. That's done in close consultation with our agronomist and growers. Only the best soft fruit varieties qualify for the Sweet and Sunny brand. These varieties look and taste great without compromising on quality and shelf life."
Expectations for the coming strawberry season
“The Spanish season will start at the beginning of January with small volumes," continues Van Loon. "We start preparing in June already. We, and those involved in the chain, evaluate the previous season. We then discuss our plans with the farmers. The season's preparations are going well. So far, the crop's looking good, and you can see the first flower buds."
"We should be able to meet European retailers' rapidly growing demand for Sweet and Sunny strawberries. We're keeping a close eye on the developments around COVID-19. We're already coordinating a lot with the growers. That only intensifies during the season. We can then quickly anticipate any changes in both Spain and the Netherlands. The growers and I are looking forward to making it a successful season," Cas concludes.