The redcurrant and raspberry season has begun at Berrybrothers in the Netherlands. "We've invested in a new, modern, 2.3-hectare greenhouse for redcurrant cultivation. We grow Junifer redcurrants in it. These have been outside during the winter to get the necessary cold hours. We placed them in the greenhouse in spring. The plants being outside mean the berries have beautiful, long, thick bunches. Next week we'll harvest the first of these," says Nijs van Zuilen.
This Dutch cultivation company celebrated its 40th-anniversary last year. It farms and markets its berries entirely independently. They grow redcurrants, blue and blackberries, and raspberries. "We've expanded our greenhouse cultivation. So, we can better fulfill our goal of being a year-round supplier. That lets us meet the increasing demand for Dutch redcurrants in the early season." Berrybrothers is also planning an 8-hectare expansion of Rovada redcurrants this year.
Nijs and Gerco van Zuilen
Nijs is confident about the upcoming season. "Our clients are selling well, despite the global pandemic. We're missing some sales to the hospitality industry. But our buyers in the retail and market channel are doing very well. COVID-19 is exactly why people have become very concerned with nutritional and health developments. We're very optimistic about the season."
Berrybrothers began harvesting raspberries last week too. "This is the first year we're harvesting these from our heated greenhouse. Now we can supply raspberries from our greenhouse, outdoors, and tunnels. That's from May to mid-October. We grow the Kwanza variety. It's characterized by firm, large, flavorful fruit."
The new greenhouse has space for trials with different varieties. New redcurrant, raspberry, and blue and blackberry varieties are tested. "We can try out new varieties. And thus respond to new developments early on," Nijs concludes.