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Dutch cherry farmer, Theo Vernooij:

"This new machine means we can sort our cherries optically"

This year's cherry season isn't as voluminous as last year's. That's according to Theo and Erik Vernooij in the Netherlands. "It's rather variable; there aren't as many cherries either. That's due to the bad flowering weather. There was lots of rain, night frost, and hailstorms. So, we're surprised we still have so many cherries. What with that terrible blossoming weather," says Theo.

Demand is high for Vernooij fruit growers' cherries. "A lot of people are asking if the cherries are ripe yet. Sales are going smoothly with many home sales. The demand from Dutch supermarkets for locally-grown cherries have been noticeably increasing for years." Theo arranges the sales through the Fruitmasters cooperative. They supply retailers like Makro and Plus.

Theo and Erik will begin using their new machine this year. "This is a Unitec machine," says Theo. "We'll use it for the first time on our 17-hectare area. It has a maximum capacity of a ton/hour and has an optical sorter. Via a camera, it sorts the cherries according to quality, color, and size. The machine's connected to a Newtec packing line. That automates the punnet packing."

The grower offers various cherry varieties. These include Burlat, Merchant, Samba, Karina, Regina, Kordia, and Areko. They also cultivate a few Dutch heritage kinds like Maaikers en the black Variks cherry. “These are a little smaller, but just as tasty are the larger cherries," Theo concludes.

 

For more information:
Theo Vernooij
Fruitteeltbedrijf Theo Vernooij
18 Groenewoudseweg
3945 BC, Cothen, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 651 894 211
Email: vernooij@dekersenhut.nl


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