At BelOrta, outdoor strawberries are now slowly coming in at the cooperative. "We have already had quite good volumes since the start of May, but with the open-field cultivation, we expect to be at a nice level in terms of volumes in the coming weeks," says Miguel Demaeght of BelOrta.
"Thanks to our choices of varieties and cultivation systems, we have fortunately been able to provide a reasonable spread in the supply, trying to avoid oversupply," Miguel continues. "Of course, nature can always throw a spanner in the works, but this year we have not seemed to experience many problems with that. A heat wave could change that, but I don't expect there to be any big fluctuations in volumes this year."
Demand is also shifting more towards the export market during this period. "In recent weeks, we have been in good focus in Belgium, as many retailers have bet on promos with the strawberries. Now we see that other countries are also coming into the picture. Price-wise, we are, therefore, at the correct level. But what is correct, right? It is always a consultation between trade and grower, but I think at the moment it is workable prices for all parties, which is especially nice now."
Quality, in Miguel's opinion, is "fantastic." "Mother Nature is also cooperating, of course, because now the pickers can keep up nicely and the strawberries can grow nicely, steadily. I would like to have a year like this every year in terms of quality."
Besides strawberries, other soft fruits are also gaining momentum at the cooperative. "We are already well underway with blackberries and redcurrants we have also had for about two weeks. It is still only greenhouse cultivation though, so volumes are still fairly limited in this. The same goes for raspberries, but I expect we will have higher volumes within the next 10 days or so. We are looking forward to a good summer."
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