The Belgian cherry season is getting started. But, the weather's been grim recently. So, the cooperative, Belgische Fruitveiling's (BFV) Karel Belmans thinks early cherries will only be harvested in late June. "In recent years, the cherry season has begun earlier."
"Last year, we picked the first cherries around 10 June. This year, however, it'll take a bit longer before harvesting can start. A late season means Regina and Kordia cherries will come onto the market in July. Those will probably run until the beginning of August," he says.
“I'm generally optimistic about the upcoming season. Bad weather affected the early varieties like Samba during flowering. But, the later flowering types like Kordia and Regina look very promising. We shouldn't rejoice too soon, though, because molting hasn't begun yet."
"I assume that will be fine. However, we can, of course, never be 100% sure. There are still so many things that could go wrong. Fortunately, most of the cherries are under cover. But some aren't yet protected. The weather could still greatly affect the crop," Karel explains.
He can only be 100% certain once the cherries have all been picked. "For now, we're keeping an open mind. But we're certainly positive. We have a healthy crop that's getting enough rain. Last year was a lot drier."
The BFV is investing in a new quality sorting method this year. That's to concentrate even more on the cherries' quality. "We want to focus even more on quality," he says. "We already have good quality sorting, but you can always improve that."
"We've also invested in new packing lines. They'll come into use this year. There's been increased demand for packed fruit and vegetables. That's since the global pandemic began. The new top seal packing line enables us to respond to this development," Karel concludes.