The regional soft fruit season is now gradually drawing to a close. At the moment, there are mainly smaller volumes from protected cultivation, as Thorsten Hinz, managing director of Fruchtpartner GmbH based at Oldenburg wholesale market, tells us. "We have exciting months ahead for blueberries, as initial indications are that Peru will ship more to the U.S. instead of Europe this year, which will then in turn affect the supply and price situation in European markets."
The berry season traditionally kicks off with Spanish strawberries at the turn of the year. "The start of the season was quite difficult for several reasons. It was only from March-April that sales then gradually became a little more interesting," says Hinz, who sources a significant part of his regional soft fruits from ELO. Then, in mid-May, the first regional strawberries hit the market, followed by the main volumes in June. "Supply-wise, it was sometimes tight, which is why the general price level was significantly higher compared to previous years. Of course, the growers needed this extra price in view of the increased costs."
Right: Thorsten Hinz of Fruchtpartner GmbH at FreshPlaza's wholesale market visit in summer 2023. The company has been based at the local Oldenburg wholesale market for more than 20 years.
Regional blueberries were available from the end of July, and raspberries could be procured from regional cultivation as early as mid-May. Hinz: "Demand for these two berry fruits was also relatively high with stable, good prices. Also worth mentioning are the regional blackberries. This product is a niche, but demand continues to increase year after year."
Good starting point for local leafy and cabbage vegetables
While the berry season is winding down, the supply of local lettuces and collard greens is nearing its peak. "High prices are being achieved so far for almost all outdoor lettuces, which - as far as I can tell - are also adequate for the grower. Cabbage vegetables are also now rapidly finding their way to consumers, although I have the impression that less volume is being grown in regional cultivation."
Cauliflower in particular is currently trading briskly and at good prices, the fruit wholesaler continues. "According to current information, there is less produce available in Poland, which is why correspondingly less is being exported to neighboring countries. The same applies to the Netherlands. However, I don't see any slow-sellers in the whole area of cabbage vegetables and salads at the moment."