Before the Dutch pear season, expectations were high, especially given the low European harvest. "The mood was already well set during harvesting. But consider the timber sales prices that were bet on. Those mean we haven't made up our cooling costs yet. Still, the prices are good, only we all expected a little more," says Aart Blom of FruitPartners Blom.
"The fixed lines to places like German markets are running smoothly. However, certainly, because of the low Italian harvest, extras aren't forthcoming. Prices are very flat. Sometimes a cent is added and then subtracted again. But the prices are just about at roughly €0.80 for all grades."
"The pears' quality is good. They're slightly more bronzed than in previous years. That's due to the cold weather during the flowering period. Pears from [the Dutch provinces of] Zeeland and North Holland are also noticeably slightly greener than those from the middle of the country," says Aart.
"The apples are of good quality too. Slightly fewer Elstar apples have been picked than expected. We should be able to place this year's crop well on the Dutch market. Last year, we had an uneven crop and were finished by the end of May. This season, we'll certainly continue for an extra month. Prices are at a normal level," he says.
FruitPartners Blom's current soft fruit supply consists of Egyptian and Dutch greenhouse strawberries. "The Egyptian supply has to contend with the limited air freight availability. As a result, prices are high. We're getting beautiful strawberries from the Dutch greenhouses."
"Those are lit with LED. They're of great quality too. Thanks to covered cultivation, we now have Dutch strawberries available all year round. That gives a nice spread. We used to have a peak in spring and autumn," Aart explains.
Aart is not only a fruit grower and trader. He also runs the Streeckerij De Betuwe experience park. "We received the building permit last week. We hope to start construction in January. We don't want an amusement park with roller coasters."
"It must be an accessible regional experience park, where fruit picking is central. We grow cherries, fruit, and apples on the property. And we're going to build a greenhouse for cherry cultivation. People can then pick fruit there five months of the year," Aart concludes.