Richard Strijbis with the first harvest of Diamond-walnuts
Incidentally, demand for the whole range of nuts goes beyond the Christmas period nowadays, Richard argues. "I've been in the nut business for about twenty years; it used to be that if you broke even from January to August, you were guaranteed a top year. The money had to be earned between September and November. Nowadays there is a larger demand all year round. The health benefits of nuts are becoming more widely known and that has led to a dramatic increase in demand worldwide. Pine nuts, dates and walnuts are big sellers now, not just at Christmas."
The increase in demand leads to an insufficient supply of nuts. "If you are planting walnut trees now, it will take up to five years for them to bear fruit. Therefore it is impossible to keep up with demand. On top of that, production of the in shell variety dropped in favour of the fast growing cracking industry. That came as quite a shock to our customers, but we had to go along with it. Meanwhile, this price level has been reasonably accepted. Prices are at a similar level this year as they were last year."
Tovano offers a wide range of nuts and dried fruit to exporters, wholesalers, retailers and industry. "A good product for a decent price with good service, that is our company philosophy. We have to be on our toes every day. We also don't have to accommodate everybody. We deliberately stay away from fairs so we don't infringe on our own customers," says Richard. "I do visit one or two suppliers every year, but I try to keep these visits to a minimum. Work must also go on. Tovano has been in existence for over sixty years. By now, you should know who to trade withand who sticks to their commitment!"
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