"Jan Engelen: "Now more people get the chance to taste this fruit"

Auction Hoogstraten sees rise in kiwiberry harvest

The new harvest of Belgian baby kiwi's is bigger this year than ever. This premier home grown fruit is available from most supermarkets and quality fruit shops in Belgium from this week until mid November. In 2010 kiwiberries were sold under the Hoogstraten label, so this is the third year. Jan Engelen from Auction Hoogstraten expects this to be a top year with 50 tonnes, 25% more than last year.

Calm down
"Last week we kicked off the kiwiberry season and started with delivery. The way things are now going we need to calm everybody down as there is more than last year, but not extremely large amounts. Last time we were sold out in six weeks! We are expecting another short season and our focus is the internal markets. All Belgian retailers are working together. Our main partner is Colruyt, but also other supermarkets are putting kiwiberries on the shelves. The shaker, as packaging, stays the same as it looks good. This year will also see more exports to the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Germany."

Jan has seen the familiarity of the kiwiberries grow year after year. "We are working together with the famous Belgian chef Roger van Damme from the star restaurant 'Het Gebaar'. He worked especially at the start of this top harvest in 2013 and created exclusive recipes with kiwiberries in the main role. The Belgian master chef shows that the kiwiberry is an innovative home grown product which deserves a place in our cuisine, alongside Belgian strawberries, asparagus, hop shoots (poor man’s asparagus) and chicory. Alongside the famous chef the consumer can also get familiar with the kiwiberry via social media such as Facebook. There is also a QR-code on the box and an info sticker on the shaker in different languages. Next year we will need an even bigger harvest!"

Kiwiberry have all the taste and health attributes of the standard kiwi, but can be eaten unpeeled like a grape. The fruit is a juicy taste bomb which Auction Hoogstraten offer in a handy fruitshaker. The innovative Belgian kiwiberry is 'the' healthly and tasty snack for the coming Autumn months. Thanks to the successful harvest kiwiberries are also more available abroad. To diversify further Auction Hoogstraten, in conjunction with University Gent, are trying out new varieties of baby kiwi. They should not be grown in greenhouses and little energy is required as cultivation occurs in the open air. The fruit is also not very vulnerable to disease, so there is no pesticide required and the carbon footprint is very small as local transport to the shops is at a minimum, unlike its larger Kiwi brother. The fruit can be kept at room temperature in their packaging for 4 to 5 days after purchase. Due to the rapid ripening kiwiberries are edible once the skin can be pressed in. Click here for more information about kiwiberries and see who our kiwi sellers are.

Continue to invest

"Thanks to this big harvest kiwiberries will be distributed to more shops than ever, giving the Belgians the chance to discover this new species of home grown fruit and its use in tasty dishes. With the success of this relatively new fruit set to continue we will continue to further develop new varieties, cultivation, distribution, packing and promotion. Since the first commercial harvest in 2010 we have a great track record and today with 18 growers covering an area of over 20 ha we have a strong base for further growth of the kiwiberries in our land and beyond," stated Jan Engelen, Marketing Director Auction Hoogstraten.

For more information:
Jan Engelen
Auction Hoogstraten
Loenhoutseweg 59
Hoogstraten - België
Tel: +32 3 3400233
Fax: +32 3 3147844

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