Italy has been battered by extreme weather over the past year. However, prickly pear supplies stayed relatively stable this summer despite the heat and heavy rainfall. "Though, since last week, we've had very few available. This week, there's a slight gap in the supply, but we should get sufficient supply from Sicily starting next week," says Wanja Engbersen of Bud Holland.
"Most of our imported prickly pears come from Colombia and Italy (Sicily), where fields of these fruits are grown in long rows. It looks amazing. From November through July, we import from Colombia, and when Italian prickly pears come on the market, we switch. These are far cheaper."
"They're usually available from July through October." According to the Wanja, prickly pear prices are highest at the beginning and end of the season, when supply is more limited. "During peak season, prices may drop because of this product's abundance on the market," she says.
Engbersen says prickly pear demand has risen steadily in recent years. "That's mainly due to increasing interest in exotic fruits and vegetables from chefs and consumers. In many countries, this fruit is as common as apples. Not yet in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, more and more people are becoming familiar with pricky pears' health benefits and unique flavor. That contributes to the upward trend," she explains.
Bud uses various marketing strategies to introduce emerging products like prickly pears to the general public. "We regularly post recipes and product information on our website and social media. We feel it's important that consumers and chefs know what they can do with the product."
"And how to prepare it. We're also publishing a new Bud Holland cookbook for our regular customers. And, at the trade shows in Berlin and Madrid, we introduce our visitors to these products by serving snacks and drinks made with some of those special products," Wanja concludes.