In the Netherlands, Marni Fruit is currently transitioning from stone fruit from southern Spain to that from that country's north. "On Tuesday, we'll start getting supply from Zaragoza - peaches and then nectarines. Flat peaches and Platterinas will soon follow," says Erik-Jan Thur.
He says this season's big issue is the water shortage. "I recently spoke to our supplier in Zaragoza, who sources water from the Pyrenees. This is the first time in his growing career that it's been so extreme. And he has fairly easy access to water. Not all growers have that."
"Those on the good side should manage to supply larger sizes, but there will be growers with only small sizes or many rejects. Add to that the severe weather that's currently plaguing Italy, and no immediate stonefruit surpluses are to be expected this season. Prices are nice, and growers are more inclined to hold these prices. All varieties and packages are in good demand. Usually, there's demand for mainly 10x1 kg or single-layer packages; now that demand's spread more across the board," explains Erik-Jan.
"With watermelons, it's the usual big struggle. This year's market started quite high but dropped back quickly to around €0.50. With the current nice weather, prices have returned to €0.65-€0.75/kg. Prices should stabilize once the season starts in Murcia if the weather stays good. There are far more large yellow melons sizes, while the availability of the small sizes is slightly more difficult."
"We're also loading Spanish cherries. Those sales are going smoothly. Initially, we expected plenty of large ones," Erik-Jan admits, "but my suppliers now tell me that last week's rain did significant damage. And, if there's one thing that's disastrous for cherries, it's lots of rain. So there are some cracked cherries."
"As importers, we understand this situation, but, honestly, I sometimes miss that understanding from customers. It seems some people don't consider why a box might contain a few inferior cherries. That's starting to bother me more and more." Erik-Jan concludes.