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“Poland biggest competitor in top fruit”

Kees Blijderveen of Fruit NL in Ingen, Holland has always been very positive about traditional Dutch top fruit like the Elstar and the Conference. Still, he’s by no means sceptical about the club varieties. “Much energy is still put into them and I have to say, looking at a variety like Lola, it’s a perfect little apple.”

Yet, Blijderveen thinks the success of club varieties largely depends on big promotional campaigns. “Which is all fine,” he says, “were it not that we forget to promote the old-fashioned Conference, Elstar and Jonagold. These are still the varieties that most people eat. And they made it on their own, without promotion. Look at the Golden: it’s very old, but still the world’s major seller. We shouldn’t disregard the old generation just yet.”

Blijderveen agrees that Poland is probably the biggest threat to the Dutch apple trade. “They have the usual advantages, like low costs, low wages and all that. And of course, for some reason, their crop was huge compared to ours this year. Furthermore, the quality of Polish produce has been making some big leaps. But we shouldn’t let that beat us down. I’m sixty years old and guess what? There have always been problems. Always. Problems are there to be solved.”

Fruit NL is currently limiting its activities to Holland, Belgium and Germany. Export to far-away countries to Blijderveen is fairly pointless. “How are you gonna sell our expensive pears to people who maybe make 180 Euro in a month? There are plenty of opportunities right here.”

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