B&B Fruit is the largest plum cultivation company in the Netherlands. There, that season is in full swing. Marinus Bunt is pleased with how the season is progressing. "Sales are going well," he says. "There are fewer other stone fruits like peaches and nectarines. That fuels the demand for Dutch plums. There may be slightly fewer kilos, but prices are good."
"The plums have a good shelf life too. That wasn't so with the early varieties. Considering how much it's rained, I'm amazed they taste so good. I hope it'll remain dry for a while now. The last Opal plums are already bursting forth. We're well busy with the Jubilee and Victory varieties at present."
"Current day trade prices for the first Reine Victorias are between €2.50 and €3. The other varieties are selling for €2 to €2.50. So, a nice price level," continues the grower. "Buyers from places like Germany and Scandinavia are participating well. In the Netherlands, sales have declined somewhat in recent weeks. But better weather is expected, and campaigns are planned. I, therefore, anticipate an upturn here as well."
This year the company took a new sorting and packing plant into use. It has, among other things, a new stone fruit machine. This is suitable for fruits of 30 to 100mm. It selects internal as well as external quality. This allows the company to create customer-specific programs. And automatically sort out the ready-to-eat plums. That is unique in the Dutch market.
"We had considerable teething problems in the first weeks. A machine like this is capable of much. You, however, have to learn to run it. We had good support from Sorma Benelux. They had two programmers working here full-time and it's running well now. It's much needed, too, since the biggest boom is still to come. We have a volume peak in the next three weeks. Then things must happen," Marinus concludes. The Dutch plum season runs until mid-September.