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Rik Vanackere:

"Long late summer boosts Salanova and young spinach sales"

The Belgian lettuce market situation is stable, and in Flanders, Rik Vanackere is in the last weeks of the outdoor season. His company grew young spinach, mesclun, and Salanova and had a prosperous summer. "The long late summer did sales well," says the grower.

Though the September heat caused issues in other crops, it boosted lettuce product sales. "When the weather's nice, people reach for a salad faster, so we had a good summer with nice prices. Also, southern Europe still has significant problems. That, and the still costly transport, made people opt more for the Flemish product."

On the cultivation side, the persistent warm weather made things more challenging. "Around June, it was very dry at times, so we had to irrigate a lot, but that recovered in July and August. However, the winter planting stock is coming in a bit on the large side due to the warm weather. I doubt that will cause major problems; it's still within limits. We'll see how that goes," says Rik.

Cabrio greenhouses are ideal
For the company, which markets all its products via REO Veiling, Salanova has become its main mesclun staple. A few years ago, a stagnant market got the company focused on that product. These small, loose-leaf lettuce heads are processed into salad mixes. "That caught on so well that we increasingly started focusing on it. We grow Salanova both indoors and outdoors, allowing us to supply it year-round."

With the end of the open field season in sight, Rik is gradually switching his gaze back to greenhouse cultivation. "We harvest year-round, and I think we'll continue outside until about November 10. Then we'll return inside," he explains. The grower says the changing climate makes outdoor cultivation increasingly difficult.

"That's the main reason we began using Cabrio greenhouses. We don't want to be too dependent on the erratic summer weather. That's why we grow Salanova in these greenhouses. We used them for young spinach this summer, too. They let us regulate conditions perfectly," Rik concludes.

For more information:
Rik Vanackere
Tel.: +32 (0) 478 612 392
Email: [email protected]

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