Last year, high energy prices meant there was little supply from those countries' greenhouses, so supermarkets had to switch to imports from Southern Europe. How are things looking this year? We approached Dutch retailer PLUS for more insight into their supplies and strategies for the upcoming winter season.
Compared to last year, PLUS sees a clear increase in lit cultivation in the Netherlands, especially in cucumbers and tomatoes. "Last year, we got some (standard, not snack) cucumbers grown under lights; we also imported some from Spain. This year, they all come from local lit cultivation. For tomatoes, there are more varieties, grown under lights, available, including mini cherry and plum TOVs," says PLUS spokesperson Elise van Ee.
PLUS, too, will switch to importing - primarily from Spain - its herb and standard fruit and vegetable products this winter. "That includes bell peppers, eggplant, various tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery. Some will also come from Morocco, Tunisia, and other parts of Africa. That's especially true of tomatoes and legumes. We're currently still sourcing Dutch herbs, but come winter, we'll import some varieties."
As for the coming winter assortment, people can go to PLUS for typical winter vegetables like kale, sauerkraut, and potatoes. "It's crucial to make shoppers aware of the benefits of buying seasonal, local fruit and vegetable products, even in winter. PLUS has been communicating for years that we want to get our produce from as close as possible. That's what we stand for. To support that goal, we recently took initiatives, such as offering Dutch organic potatoes throughout the year without a price increase. The organic growers get the extra organic-appropriate price. PLUS makes up the difference itself. We also plan to have special promotions in the winter for potatoes and other winter vegetables," Elise explains.