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Lucien Ruiter, Van Ooijen Citrus:

"First Spanish greenhouse cherries are a must-have"

This week, the first Spanish greenhouse cherries will arrive at Van Ooijen Citrus in Ridderkerk, the Netherlands. They won't arrive in large quantities, instead, they are expected to arrive in twelve crats of 1,5 kilos each. "They are a must-have," says Lucien Ruiter.

Although the company name suggests differently, Van Ooijen Citrus has become a true cherry specialist. "Cherries are sparse from week 12 to week 17, during these weeks cherries are not available anywhere in the world. The cherry season in the southern hemisphere ended five weeks ago. The greenhouse cherries from our Spanish supplier fill this gap."

"These cherries are not for everyone though. We sell these cherries on a pre-order basis only, and we tend to sell kilos rather than crates. The price of the cherries is set at 75 euros per kilo (30+). Despite this price, we're not making a profit because the transport costs amount to 20 euros per kilo. However, we can serve a few specialists who are eagerly waiting for them," Lucien explains.

Photo on the right, the first arrival. A large red box contains 6 small boxes of 1.5 kilos each

"Since the greenhouse is situated on higher ground, our grower can effectively control the temperature and consequently he can advance the flowering phase and fruiting. Especially in this period when no cherries are available, he can bring a unique product to the market," Lucien shares. However, he does not foresee a large expansion of the Spanish greenhouse cherry cultivation. "Given the exorbitant cost, there's not a big market for this product."

According to the cherry specialist, it is not yet possible to have a clear image of the further development of the Spanish cherry season. "Currently, the cherries are looking fine, but frost during the flowering season or rain and hail just before harvest can still drastically reduce cherry yields. We experienced this last year when two hailstorms destroyed a large part of the cherry harvest in Extremadura."

For more information:
Lucien Ruiter
Van Ooijen Citrus
Handelsweg 149
2988 DC
Ridderkerk, the Netherlands
Tel: 0180-65 55 55
[email protected]