The King and Queen of Belgium gave berry growers a boost with a tour of the BelOrta cooperative’s site during the high season for berries

This week, the Belgian royal couple paid a visit to fruit and vegetable cooperative BelOrta in Borgloon, where they enjoyed a tour of the site.

The visit coincided with the official start of the high season for Belgian berries, with supplies of all berries, including strawberries, increasing rapidly.

The king and queen were informed about the supply and quality control of the fruit, including the ultra-modern sorting installation for cherries. The cameras in this installation, controlled by advanced recognition software, sort the cherries by colour, size and quality, with both internal and external defects sorted out, resulting in a homogeneous and high-quality product.

The couple also got to sit in the sales hall to experience buying fruit using the auction clock.

Royal visit to BelOrta

Royal visit to BelOrta

Dirk Bertels, chairman of BelOrta, commented: “The interest shown in our sector by the king and queen is a boost for our growers, who are busy all year round to get locally grown products on the consumer’s plate and thus contribute to a healthy diet.”

BelOrta director Philippe Appeltans added: “Today they were able to take a look behind the scenes and see with their own eyes the important role that BelOrta, as a leading cooperative, plays in the chain between the harvesting of a product and the moment it arrives on the shelf or in the foodservice kitchen.”

BelOrta berries are locally grown to achieve optimal freshness and flavour, while the season is extended by different varieties, combined with sustainable cultivation techniques.

“Locally grown blueberries are available at BelOrta until October,” the company stated, “raspberries until the autumn break and blackberries until the holidays. In addition to blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, BelOrta also offers redcurrants, cassis, white currants, gooseberries, cherries and various types of strawberries. Almost all berries are also available in an organic variety and are offered in different packaging.”