The Republic of Moldova has established itself as one of the most important producing countries for plums. "30 to 40 percent of the plums we import are coming in from Moldova," says Hans Lehar, managing director of OGA/OGV Nordbaden eG. "The quality of the produce is very good, although it varies, of course, depending on the producer. The fruits are picked carefully and the fertile, dark soils and the Black Sea climate make for good flavor."
OGA/OGV's hall with plums of the Stanley variety, from Moldova. Photo: OGA/OGV
He said the season for German produce has ended, but since the market is still receptive, OGA/OGV is sourcing Moldovan plums. "The season starts in mid/late September and lasts until the end of October, depending on availability and quality." The predominant variety grown there is the Stanley, with a share of over 90 percent. This late variety has firm flesh, has a loose stone and its taste is pleasant and sweet.
"As the Russian market is no longer available, Western Europe has become an interesting outlet for Moldovan produce. We ourselves established contacts with Moldova very early on, have been there several times, and have been receiving produce from this region for several years," Lehar adds.
In contrast to last year, when there were far more logistical problems, this year the goods have so far arrived at the cooperative as agreed, Lehar notes. The plums are marketed to both food retailers and fruit and veg specialty retailers.
"Every week, up to ten truckloads will arrive at our facility. We have become a reliable partner for the grower companies. The extreme cost increases regarding energy, fuel and raw materials are of course putting a strain on producers in this region as well. It remains to be seen how market prices and consumer behavior will develop in the coming year, when these spiraling costs will increasingly affect the consumer. The problems will then be the same for German and foreign goods," Lehar states.