Special Fruit Newsletter : the organic edition
For a couple of years now, Piet Meerkerk has been an established figure at Special Fruit. You recognize him by his contagious laughter or his eternal search for blueberries coming from all over the world. Within Special Fruit, Piet is responsible for purchasing the best (organic) blueberries, which makes him the right man to ask a few questions.
Do you feel the demand for organic blueberries is getting bigger?
Over the last 3 years, we’ve seen a clear growth in the consumption of organic blueberries. The main reason is that the consumer has become increasingly critical towards horticulture, keeping the use of pesticides in mind. In addition, blueberries gained a lot of popularity over the last couple of years. The total consumption increases each year and that’s also a gain for the organic growth market. We’ve even noticed that the latter grows slightly faster than the conventional market.
Which kind of variety currently stands out the most and why?
Self-praise is no recommendation, but our own blueberries from our Portuguese company Mirtisul are of very good quality. Each variety may vary in taste, but taste is a personal matter. As for myself, I prefer the variety Duke, but this variety isn’t suitable for growth in Portugal. It is, however, ideal for Northern Europe. We are currently working on the organic version of Duke at one of our Dutch growers.
How do you see the evolution of the organic blueberry market?
I believe that this positive development in organic foods is a trend and not a hype.
How does the organic blueberry differ from the ‘normal’ blueberry?
The biggest difference is of course that it is grown organically, so without the use of "chemical pesticides". We only use "organic fertilizers".
The vast majority of our organic blueberries comes from Mirtisul. Which varieties do they grow?
They grow 5 different varieties of organic blueberries, all Southern Highbush Blueberries such as Sharp Blue, Misty, O’Neill,… The fruit harvest starts in May and ends early July. The average annual production of blueberries is approximately 160 tons. We also have a supplier in North Germany with a harvest from July until the end of September.
From which countries do you get your organic blueberries?
To get a year-round offer of organic blueberries, we get them from all corners of the world. We start the year with those from Chile, after which Spain and Portugal take over. During summer, we get them in Germany and in autumn South Africa and Chile take over.
5 reasons to choose for organic products
•A more complete and richer flavour
•More nutrients (vitamins, minerals, bioactive substances)
•Better for biodiversity
•Better for the soil
•Better for the quality of water and animals
Why does Special Fruit believe in organic fruit and vegetables?
We believe in the development of the organic segment, considering it to be a good supplement to our product range. If we can help both the environment and your health, why wouldn’t we go for it? We’ve noticed an evolution in the demand of ‘free from’ food. The consumers are more aware of the products they buy, so it’s obvious for us as a supplier of fresh foods that we follow these trends with the attention they deserve!
Stimulating kids to eat healthy
Retailers pull out all the stops to entice children with tasty vitamins. Think of cherry tomatoes, blueberries in snack packaging, … We like to think along with the retailer to make things happen. We even encourage it in the schools of our neighbourhood. They can count on us to support their initiatives to get healthy lunches during project weeks or other events.
How do you get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables? Read the article: