Frank Visscher, Tenfood:

"We sell most of our Israeli salicornia to Italy"

Frank Visscher has been a fishmonger in the Netherlands for many years. But, last year, he added Israeli salicornia, or samphire, to his supply of products like squid and red gurnard.

"Fish trading is highly competitive, so we began looking for niches," explains Frank. "For example, 18 months ago, we began importing samphire from our Israeli supplier, Agriver, and it seems to be in high demand. Remarkably, our Italian customers are particularly interested in this product."

"You'd think they'd import this themselves, but it seems they prefer having a Dutchman handle it." This sea vegetable arrives by plane in Liège, Belgium, three times a week and is then transported to the wholesaler in the Netherlands.

"Salicornia sales are boosting our business. Fish and especially meat sales are coming under increasing pressure. Vegetables, on the other hand, are seen as trendy, and sea vegetable sales are on the rise. We'd like to supply our Dutch customers with Israeli samphire too," Frank concludes.

In Israel, salicornia is cultivated on land in plastic tunnels. It is harvested by hand and grows to 5-10cm long and 4-7mm wide. Post-harvest, this product is cooled at 2°C for at least 24 hours. Although Israeli samphire is available year-round, it is usually a little scarcer in October.

For more information:
Frank Visscher
Tel: +31 (0) 653 731 259 

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