The almost complete lack of Dutch and Belgian greenhouse vegetables this winter should come as no surprise. However, 'traditional Belgian winter vegetables' seem to be filling that local supply gap. "Many consumers seem to want winter vegetables because there's good demand," says BelOrta's Benny Cuypers.
"Leeks sold very well all fall. That's mainly due to the yield coming off the fields. They haven't grown very well. Combined with good demand, that results in nice prices. The cold days in early December also boosted these sales, and in the last few weeks, prices have neared the one euro mark."
Chicory is having a very different time than usual. "There's even a bit of a market shortage. The volumes coming in from traditional chicory countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, and France are clearly lower than in previous years. The summer drought affected that crop," Benny continues. So here, too, nice prices are being paid, he explains. "Prices were excellent around New Year. Last week they dipped a little, but this week they're picking up quite a bit again with prices of around €1.50/kg."
That seems to be the trend for the entire winter vegetable range. There are fewer cabbages too. "That's led to good prices for white cabbages. This vegetable's supply and weight aren't great because of the summer drought. Savoy cabbage had a slightly harder time before New Year, but after the turn of the year, that too is selling better. Demand has undoubtedly increased. No true outliers, but still definitely good," states Benny.
"Our other vegetables, like radishes, turnips, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts, are in the same boat. Relatively good demand with less supply. The turnips suffered a bit from the cold in early December. That makes for rather more sorting work, which limits supply somewhat. Nevertheless, people seem to generally be gravitating a bit more toward winter vegetables," Benny concludes.