GEN cherries

German fresh produce company Kölla says it is expecting an earlier-than-usual start to the European cherry season this year and greater initial volumes from Turkey, with a major shift in the market as a result.

The group reported that harvested volume of the Napoleon variety in Turkey was higher than in 2017.

The first shipments are due to arrive in European markets during the last week of May, around two weeks earlier than normal, while supply out of Spain and France is reportedly running around 7-10 days late.

“The start of the 2018 season is a lot different to previous years and will lead to a change in the market situation,” it stated. “Turkey is already starting with the first firm varieties in week 20, two weeks earlier than in a normal year.”

Italy and Greece were understood to be “only slightly late”, it added. “The crops are good, but mostly with small goods. The weather for the next few days, as in every year, will influence the forecasts.”

A “good harvest” was expected in Spain, it said. The Burlat and Early Bigi varieties will be available from Tarragona and Lerida in week 19, with serious volumes from the middle of week 20 and others in week 21.

In Italy, Bigaro is set to be loaded from week 19 onwards. “The firm variety Giorgia [will arrive] from weeks 21/22. The main variety Ferrovia, from week 23.”

The start of the French season was expected from late May with soft varieties such as Burlat, although firm varieties like Folfer or Summit would not be available until the first week of June, it noted. Stark, Sunburst, Belge and Van Stark were expected in week 23.

For Greece, finally, Kölla said it was expecting a good harvest – including firm variety Pella from week 23 – although it said sizing would tend to be “rather small to medium”, falling from 22/24 to 26/28 within a couple of weeks.