This year's soft fruit season is, by no means, typical. Nevertheless, Veiling Zaltbommel's Jan Willem Tolhoek isn't displeased with sales. Jan is the Head of sales and marketing at this Dutch cooperative. "The coronavirus pandemic made it a completely different year. But, across the board, we absolutely can't complain about soft fruit. We currently have an almost-complete package at our disposal."
"The greenhouse strawberry season's over. As auctioneers, we have a strong position in this. Spring was generally excellent for Dutch strawberry growers. The current strawberries come mainly from outdoor, tunnel, and elevated planter farming. Strawberry prices were excellent until last week. The recent temperature changes mean the supply's broadening considerably. That's putting prices under a little pressure. But, these are still acceptable."
"The number of summer strawberry varieties has increased enormously. You no longer only have Elsanta. With Furore, Favori, Limalexia, Sonata, and Sonsation, the strawberry offer has expanded immensely. Some clients swear by the Elsanta. But an increasing number of them are far less variety-bound. The same's true for cherries. There, the number of main varieties is growing considerably. This is, however, causing a significant increase in price differences too," explains Jan Willem.
"When it comes to raspberries, the supply remains very limited with sky-high prices. Several weeks ago, we were still being warned about large supplies. These were being expected from Spain and Portugal. To date, these haven't materialized. We had reasonable prices for blackberries until last week too. But now there are large volumes on the market. So, prices are under pressure."
"With redcurrants, the Junifer season's done again. We're now getting the first of the Haronia and Rovada varieties. The market's tough. The hospitality sector buys the most redcurrants. Within the soft fruit sector, the anti-corona measures have affected redcurrants the most. The impact was, however, relatively limited. That's because the season was already just about over," continues Tolhoek.
"We've received greenhouse blueberries. The first outdoor crops are also coming in now. Prices were very high until last week. Last week's good weather made this product ripen faster. Prices are, therefore, on the decline, but are still acceptable. The asparagus season's almost done too. I think asparagus farmers, in general, had a relatively good season. There were a lot of home sales with good volumes and prices," Jan Willem concludes.