"I don't expect an expensive season for Belgian strawberries," says wholesaler Frank Valckenier. "There's a massive supply, and prices are still quite reasonable, but certainly nothing special. The crop will begin declining at some point; then the prices will recover slightly."
Business is currently booming for Frank, a soft fruit specialist. "Summer got well underway two weeks ago, and sales-wise we have no complaints. There's definitely interest, especially before Mother's Day. Things would be much better, though, were it not for the high energy costs and inflation reducing shoppers' buying power."
Exports are not what they should be either, says Frank. "Every year's different. I think there's a lot of local produce on the market everywhere in Europe. Transportation costs might have something to do with it too. It's hard to say, but exporters are remaining noticeably quiet. Buying's easy, but you must be able to resell too. That seems to be where the glitch is."
"Since the weather's not humid, the strawberries' quality is excellent. However, there are some reports of warmer temperatures, which could affect greenhouse strawberries' quality, starting next week," Frank continues.
Raspberries and blackberries
Belgian raspberry and blackberry sales are also slowly getting started. "We began with the first greenhouse raspberries about ten days. In terms of the purchase price, these were still quite expensive, but you get them sold now anyway. It's something new."
"Besides, those prices won't remain as the supply slowly increases. Given the good weather, I'm expecting foil greenhouse soft fruit soon. May was cold last year, so the foil greenhouse raspberries season was delayed by two weeks. That probably won't happen this year," Frank concludes.
For more information:
10 Kerkhof Street
1760, Roosdaal-Pamel, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 475 682 125