Last year, Dutch radish grower, Jongfresh, decided to expand. They decided to build a new greenhouse (1,5 hectares of a seven-hectare total) and a 4.000m2 processing facility. Little did they know what kind of year lay ahead. "Things didn't turn out quite as we'd hoped," Erik de Jong says, understating the situation.
Nevertheless, Erik remains optimistic. "We're very positive. The hospitality industry will reopen someday. And we'll soon be introducing a few new product varieties."
"But the COVID-19 pandemic affected us significantly. We're highly specialized in special products. Most of these go to the hotel and catering industry. So, sales have been very different from what we'd anticipated. Sales of the traditional red radish recovered reasonably well after the dip in the spring. But specials sales are still lagging," he says.
That was no reason for Jongfresh to convert part of its acreage to traditional red radishes. "We're not in that segment. We, however, try to add value to our hand-harvested specials. We've therefore decided not to go for selling high volumes to retailers. Instead, we're spreading out the harvesting and sowing. So, we leave part of the acreage empty."
"The circumstances could be better, but we see a bright longer-term future. Fortunately, our business is healthy. The construction went well. The greenhouse is already in production. And the warehouse will be completed in June. The conditions for good sales in the coming weeks are also favorable. Easter is early. It's been quite cold in the outdoor production areas too," concludes the grower.