Last Wednesday, the first strawberries were picked at Strawberries Van Overbeke from Waregem. “We have been very satisfied with the quality so far,” says Philip Van Overbeke. “The shape of the strawberries is very nice, because we used the plants from last year that were planted in August. Last April we had a lot of deformed strawberries during our continued cultivation, this year we again opted for continued cultivation, but due to the nice weather this spring we now have practically none. And that works out very positively. "
“The prices of the strawberries are at a reasonable level. Last year the strawberries were a lot more expensive. The weather is not very good at the moment and even a bit cold for this time of year. When the weather gets warmer, demand will rise and prices will pick up,” daughter Jorien Van Overbeke expects. "At the moment the market is in balance, because the volumes are still somewhat limited."
Van Overbeke only grows the Elsanta variety. “We have seen many other varieties emerging in recent years, such as Sonata and Sonsation. Our area under glass is not that extensive, because we mainly focus on home sales and private sales. You can pick the Sonsation variety two weeks earlier, but then there will be a gap in production after a few weeks. However, if the opportunity arises to possibly expand, then it is quite possible that we will take that step and expand our acreage with other varieties. ”
“We grow all our strawberries on substrate. Substrate cultivation has a higher production and is less affected by weather extremes. That is why we see that the cultivation of open ground strawberries is on the decline in Belgium. More and more growers are switching to substrate cultivation, also because prices are better. In recent years, prices for open field strawberries have been lower than for strawberries from sheltered cultivation,” Philip concludes.