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Dutch greenhouse courgettes: from traditional green to insta-yellow
As a pasta replacement, barbecued, or even on bread: consumers are eating more and more courgettes. At the same time, the Dutch green courgette is getting into more trouble. But there’s still a future for the courgette cultivation in the Netherlands, according to Jesper van Oostende from The Greenery.
The area of greenhouse courgettes is shrinking in the Netherlands. In summer, the green vegetables come off worst compared to the outdoor supply, and during the rest of the year they are in trouble due to production in Southern Europe. It's a shame, Jesper thinks. “Greenhouse courgettes are grown under protection. Stocks are short and the product quickly reaches the customer. It’s a beautiful and good product,” he says. “But customers choose that quality less and less often. They often make their decisions based on price.”
The consumption of courgettes, on the other hand, has increased in recent years. “No one would now think twice when presented with a courgette sandwich, unlike a few years ago. Courgette also does well on the barbecue, and, moreover, they are often used as a calorie and carb-free alternative for pasta. These kinds of developments ensure an increased consumption.”
A recovery can also be seen in the Dutch courgette sector. In yellow, that is. “The market is fragile, and as soon as the slightest thing happens, it collapses. But we’ve seen the area of yellow courgettes growing in the Netherlands year after year,” Jesper confirms. Yellow courgettes are hardly grown in Southern Europe. “Quality from there isn’t sufficient, and they can’t be stored properly either. Last winter there was some supply from Israel, and some product is also imported from Kenya. The product is in transit for a long time then, and prices are high. That is not an issue with Dutch product.”
A striking feature of this development is that there is not much difference in taste between yellow and green. The appearance of the vegetable is the only difference, according to Jesper. The product is popular with foodies and bloggers. “At first it was a speciality, and yellow courgettes were available from food service and catering. It was traded through day-trading channels. You can now see retail is on the rise.” That’s different from, for example, the round courgette. “The round courgette is still very much a niche product. Buyers only want it in their range very occasionally. Yellow courgettes are much further on. More and more customers and supermarkets are willing to take it into their range. There’s still a future for Dutch greenhouse courgettes, but in yellow more than in green.”
Jesper van Oostende
Publication date: 9/8/2017
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