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Shortages of frozen spinach expected

"We have finally caught up with planting, but if it rains again next week, we will be behind again"

With the current rainfall, seizing the moment in open field cultivation is key, organic grower Pieter Vandooren explains. There's much ado about the problems caused by wet plots. Empty spinach shelves due to the precipitation dominated the national news in the Netherlands, but Belgium will not face such a situation, the grower asserts. "However, it's inevitable that there will be delays and shortages in certain markets."

For Pieter, it's all hands on deck this week, as the weather conditions are somewhat favorable. "We've been lucky with the precipitation. That said, it's not the same story for everyone, as 10 kilometers away, there has fallen a lot of rain. Some showers are very localized, but we've managed to do quite a bit of planting this week and last. As a result, we're caught up with all the work by tomorrow. Then, of course, they predict a lot of rain next week, so the cycle starts over, but hey, we'll see. These are extraordinary times."

The organic grower, who cultivates fennel, cauliflower, Romanesco, celeriac, leeks, pumpkins, spinach, and Charentais melons on his farm, seems quite unfazed but admits it's really a struggle. "We're finally catching up, but today we planted the last celeriac, which is actually three weeks too late. The same goes for the leeks. Since this week, we've managed to get everything in the ground, but it's also far too late. As for the harvest, we're currently working on fennel and cauliflower, but the protected cultivation is done, and the outdoor cultivation starts in three weeks, so there's also a gap in supply due to the weather conditions. We couldn't plant in April. Luckily, some fellow growers can compensate, but it's really about making adjustments. All fresh produce is very expensive at the moment."

Organic spinach for frozen processing.

"It's hard work, as everything comes together when the weather does cooperate," Pieter continues. "The spinach for freezing was sown a month too late. Up until a week ago, sowing was still happening. Far too late, as well. I heard that Greenyard expects half and Ardo two-thirds, so there will likely be shortages of frozen spinach in Belgium. However, this could balance out if we achieve a higher yield per hectare. If the weather continues like this, it just might happen. But the forecasts are not in our favor. It's a waiting game."

Right: Melons in tunnels.

Melons are flying off the shelves
Yet, there's also a product group that the organic grower from Hooglede in Flanders looks upon positively. "A few years ago, we started with organic Charentais melons and it's been going very well. We've also scaled up over the years, so we're looking forward to when we can offer the first ones. We're positive about that."

For more information:
Pieter Vandooren
[email protected]

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