“The strawberry season's been great so far. We missed some local demand recently due to the dismal weather. But exports made up for that. The colder weather delayed crops in our neighboring countries. So there was a lot of demand for strawberries. The good overseas demand meant strawberry prices were good," says Marcel Biemans of Coöperatie Hoogstraten in Belgium.
Summer has now arrived in Belgium and the Netherlands. And local strawberry demand has picked up. "Last weekend, the demand increased considerably, and a large retailer had a promotion. Therefore, there weren't enough strawberries available. However, strawberry production's increasing, and we're expecting larger volumes soon. That's due to the nice weather."
“Strawberry prices were still high at the weekend. That's because demand exceeded supply. But, auction supplies are rising, so prices are normalizing," says Marcel. The cold nights have done the strawberries quality good. "We have little to no quality problems. The plants can rest well during the night, which allows the fruit to firm up. That makes for delicious, beautiful strawberries."
The cooler spring weather delayed the open field strawberries a little. "The tunnel crops should've been in full production last week. However, they're only coming through properly this week. The supply of open field produce has been decreasing for years. Many growers have switched to growing strawberries on scaffolding. That's due to climatic and labor-related circumstances."
"But, a smaller group of specialized growers remains. They provide a good block of outdoor strawberries. We don't only have wonderful products from scaffolding cultivation. We fortunately also have a nice offer for people who prefer open field strawberries," concludes Marcel.