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Pauline Dittmeyer at the start of the French blueberry harvest

"By combining tunnel farming with frost candles, we achieve good results"

During week 22, the first blueberries of this season were harvested at Dittmeyer's plantation in the southwest of France. According to initial forecasts, this year the total area of 80 hectares is expected to yield a volume of around 600 tons, marking a slight increase compared to last year, the company's management reports. "We are encountering a balanced market and are in direct competition with Portugal. In recent years, the domestic blueberry has firmly established itself ( reported): The high demand for locally produced goods and the willingness to pay a premium for domestic products are benefiting us. In 2017, we had to export about two-thirds of our yields, but last year, we were able to market around 95 percent of our goods on the French domestic market. However, we are aiming for an increase to 100 percent."

Looking at the entry prices, there is optimism for the new French season. "We hope that prices will remain stable throughout the season. Typically, there are occasional price reductions, especially just before the end of the season (on July 20), as increased quantities from Poland and Romania enter the market," reports Pauline Dittmeyer, the daughter of the company's founder and owner, Clemens Dittmeyer.

The blueberries are now predominantly marketed in 250 instead of 125-gram containers, as well as in bulk. The search for a sensible packaging solution that balances ecology and transparency continues. Pictured: Mateusz Musialski (Head of Packing Station), Ewelina Dittmeyer (Plantation Manager), Rosemarie Diekamp (QM & Administration), Michal Hartwich (Head of Cultivation), Pauline Dittmeyer (Sales Manager), Iza Hartwich (HR Manager)

Innovations in frost protection bear fruit
In the face of climate change, the fruit and vegetable cultivation in the south of France has been increasingly confronted with late frosts and similar challenges in recent years. This has forced Dittmeyer to invest in frost protection, explains Plantation Manager Ewelina Dittmeyer. "About a third of our blueberries are grown in tunnels. It was a deliberate decision to equip only part of our plantation with tunnel facilities, as we place a strong emphasis on risk diversification."

This approach is also reflected in our frost protection strategy: "For our open-field blueberries, we continue to rely on frost protection irrigation. In the tunnel facilities, we have been using frost protection candles since this year. The combination of tunnel cultivation and frost candles requires fewer candles per hectare compared to open-field cultivation, as a high, consistent temperature is created in the tunnel. Therefore, the initial results are particularly promising. In addition to these two systems, we are planning to introduce another method, namely wind machines, in the near future," concludes Production Manager Michal Hartwich.

In addition to frost protection methods, the variety spectrum of Dittmeyer is also continuously being developed. An example of a good, frost-resistant variety is the Bluegold variety.

Images: SCEA Dittmeyer Agricola

For more information:
Pauline Dittmeyer
SCEA Dittmeyer Agricola
Domaine des Myrtilles
3346 Route de Sanguinet
F-40160 Parentis en Born
Tel: +49 1627719176
[email protected]

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