The Italian vegetable season is having difficulty getting properly started. “It continues to be a struggle because of the warm weather. A lot of countries still have plenty of their own products, and that’s why interest in Italian vegetables is falling behind. Germany, for example, still has plenty of spring onions and radish, and plenty of Dutch fennel is still available as well. It would be great for us if it would soon become colder,” says Frits de Mooij of Vita Verde in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
Vita Verde was founded five years ago. “The majority of our share is bought directly from Italian market gardeners. Italy has year-round supply of lettuce varieties. We carry products like radish and fennel until the start of the new year,” Frits says. “For now, we’re characterised as a proper Italy specialist. Besides the vegetables, we started kiwi fruit and grapes this year as well. It’s now becoming a bit poorer regarding quality of the Italian grapes due to rain, but we had a good season. The same is true for Italian kiwi fruit, although we’re now getting a bit of competition from Greek kiwi fruit.”
“Additionally, we work with Dutch product, and we’re planning on expanding our range with products from other countries in the coming years as well, although Italy will probably always be our most important supplier,” Frits expects. “Besides fennel and radish, we’re mostly known for our Italian lettuce varieties. Within the lettuce varieties , we’ve seen a shift towards ready-made product in recent years, including nuts, dressing and edible flowers. Unfortunately, sales are still a bit disappointing, because the seasons are overlapping, but luckily we’re already have some demand from the Baltic countries and Scandinavia.”