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Good Dutch plum season expected

This month sees the start of the Dutch plum season. The harvest will be slightly smaller this year, but  Marinus Bunt of B&B Fruit expects an excellent season. This family business grows and trades plums.

Marinus and Frederik Bunt

B&B fruit's third generation, Frederik and Marinus Bunt, run the company. They have dubbed themselves the plum masters of the Netherlands. And that is no lie. B&B Fruit is, indeed, the only player in the Netherlands that unites all the plum chain's links.

From cultivation, sorting, and packaging to selling and processing plum juices, sauces, and various other products. "You can safely say we have a passion for plums," says Marinus. "We deliver our products super fresh to our customers and want everyone in the Netherlands who thinks of plums to think of us."

Smaller-than-usual crop
B&B Fruit grows plums on 40 hectares in the Netherlands. The men also run a 20-hectare plum orchard in Poland. At the time of writing, in mid-June, the countdown had begun. "The new plum season will start in three weeks. We expect a slightly smaller-than-usual harvest. About 80% of the regular volumes should be available. That amounts to around 1,5 million kg. Why? We had slight frost damage, and last year's heavy rain also impacted us. The trees have slightly fewer nodes this year. That's for both the Netherlands and Poland."

Marinus says he and Frederik started the Polish cultivation company to be able to grow plums for the Dutch market for cheaper. These days, most of the plums they grow in Poland remain there. "It doesn't pay to bring the plums [to the Netherlands], given the higher cultivation and transport costs. Also, sales on the Polish market are going well," he explains. B&B Fruit sells its plums mainly to Dutch supermarkets and wholesalers, with about ten percent going across the border.

Cautious market
This plum master expects an excellent season, but he does detect caution. "What is unusual this year is that consumers can only spend their money once. However, it's a case of wait and see. Should we have a good summer, everything could change. You can't compare our plums to the imported ones."

"We grow traditional varieties like Opal, wine plums, and Reine Victoria and the blue Jubilee, Vandor, and Victory varieties. Our Victory plums yield 50 to 80g fruits. These are quite large, and there aren't many of these. Scandinavia and Switzerland are especially important export markets for these large sizes," says Martinus.

Plums and health
According to him, plums are increasingly gaining ground. "This fruit is traditionally known as a natural laxative, but there's so much more to plums. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, which benefits our product. They aren't only rich in fiber and calcium; plums contain many vitamins and antioxidants. Eating plums regularly is also good for bone formation and blood sugar levels, and it helps your blood absorb iron. Plums are like a catalyst to get more energy from food. Ideal for during or after exercise.″ 

"Post-op hospital patients are often given something containing plums. We supply our plums to the largest top sports training center in the Netherlands," Martinus continues. "And our prune juices often go to healthcare institutions, such as hospitals. Consumption is generally increasing. People with a migrant background traditionally eat lots of plums. Also, the younger generation, consciously concerned with health and the environment, buys plums more often."

Purely natural
And plums are undoubtedly an environmentally friendly product. You need hardly any pesticides to grow them, Marinus points out. "It is an extremely robust product, purely natural. Our plums are virtually MRL-free. Plus, they're GlobalGAP, Planet Proof, and GRAPS certified, and we're one of the few fruit growers who grow according to the Milieukeur standards. Apart from that, we simply want to offer a good, reliable, honest product. Our short lines of communication and working methods certainly contribute to that,″ he concludes.

B&B Fruit
+31 (0)6 225 28 117 

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