The greenhouse strawberry season is in full swing at Dutch Berries in the Netherlands. "We're well into it; all our greenhouses are in production," says Boudewijn van der Wal. "The strawberries look good. We had a quiet planting season. But the warm nights have moved things along. The markets seem to be ready. Strawberries have been quite popular this week."
"Day trade prices are between €2 and €3. That's actually too low. But it could perhaps help open up markets. Countries like Norway, Germany, and England are already buying. The outdoor strawberry season is in its final weeks. So, there should be room for the greenhouse season."
Boudewijn says there has been limited greenhouse strawberry acreage expansion this year. "The economic situation and energy prices have changed costs somewhat. Quite a few projects have, therefore, been postponed. Building a greenhouse has become quite expensive. I think many growers will opt for different cultivation strategies. That's partly because of the whole energy story."
Last year, Dutch Berries was the first strawberry farm to work entirely with LED lighting. That was in its new four-hectare greenhouse in Zuilichem. "The lighting system lived up to all expectations during the Sonata variety's first winter crop. And this year, we're expanding to ten hectares. That's quite unique, but we see opportunities. The market seems ready for Dutch strawberries in the winter."
"Dutch and Belgian retailers would love to carry year-round Dutch strawberries. With this LED lighting, we're taking steps towards that. The development of perennial strawberries is another important focal point. It's quite something to find the best continuous greenhouse variety. The trick now will be to find the right solution and variety for this," Boudewijn concludes.