In Belgium, Coöperatie Hoogstraten's strawberry production is currently switching between different cultivation systems. "It's nice that we've started again; the cultivation systems are merging fairly smoothly with stable volumes. The ever-bearers and heated spring crops are heading toward their end, and the under-plastic and open-field crops are slowly beginning. We don't expect any major supply peaks or troughs in the coming weeks," says Michiel Vermeiren.
"The nights were cold, and during the day, the weather was calm. That's super for quality but makes the strawberries grow somewhat slower. The weather could definitely be sunnier and warmer. That's the forecast for next week. The nice crop spread is resulting in great prices for now. If we can keep them at this level, it will remain workable for both growers and the trade."
Much demand from Germany
Demand-wise, several countries' early market presence is particularly unusual. "From April until this week, demand came mainly from domestic retailers who've supported consumption well with various strawberry promotions. But now, there's much demand from, for example, Scandinavia and France. And there's already unusually good demand from Germany. It's higher than in previous years. I think that's because Spain is already completely finished," Michiel explains.
"Growers in Germany also planted less, and the cold, dark weather generally delayed European production. Add to that is that Germans are some of the biggest strawberry consumers in Europe."
"So, there's much attention on the Belgian and Dutch fruit," Michiel continues. Across Europe, people are waiting for the big productions, so competition will slowly increase."
Strawberry Variety Day
Coöperatie Hoogstraten held a Strawberry variety day earlier this week. "We try to organize this with the Hoogstraten Research Center three times a year. It's a nice way to exhibit the available varieties to our growers and traders, letting them taste and compare them. We also present a box of each variety that has already passed five days of shelf life tests. Shelf life further down the chain is an important parameter. All in all, it was another very successful day," concludes Michiel.
Photo: Hoogstraten Research Center: Strawberry variety day.
Photo: LinkedIn Jan Prinsen.
For more information:
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Tel: +32 (0) 334 00 211