Flandria aubergines bring a ray of sunshine into the store!

Spring is (finally) here, and this is when southern fruiting vegetables provide a feast for the senses in the greengrocery department. Tell your customers that these 'home-grown exotics' are supplied fresh every day. The domestic aubergine season guarantees large quantities from week 18 onwards.

Our very own Provençal star
Aubergines are warmth-loving plants which are cultivated here in Belgium under protected conditions. They are a crop which demands a high level of professionalism. There is a sharp difference between fruiting vegetables which are grown here at home and the imported product. The plants here grow in a stable, optimal climate, as opposed to the sometimes extreme growing conditions in more southerly countries. So the quality is perfectly adjusted and controlled, and the production also goes on for longer than in the south.

Variety segmentation
Flandria growers have to abide by a variety list, and aubergine cultivation is also governed by a set of strict specifications. External, independent controls guarantee that Flandria aubergines meet high standards in terms of quality and environmental aspects. Every year, a decision is taken as to which varieties are admitted. The variety segmentation has the advantage that Flandria aubergines are always offered on the clock in a homogeneous block.

The first peak is approaching
Production has been increasing in recent years. This is largely to do with the growing popularity of Mediterranean cooking. The main season starts in May with decent quantities available. The first big peak comes around weeks 18-23, with 350,000 to 400,000 kg/week. The main season falls between May and August, with July and August being the very top months for supplies. The LAVA auctions can supply the trade with domestic products almost all year round. As well as being sold on the clock, aubergines are also traded via e-commerce, at a fixed price, in the packaging requested, with shipping by agreement.

Homogeneous top quality from Flandria
Only well developed, ripe fruits Can be harvested for Flandria. If an aubergine yields to gentle fingertip pressure, the growers can pick it. Given the delicate fruit wall, this is done very carefully.
Quality features:
• firm, dark purple fruit
• uniform colour and glossy
• well developed, regular fruit
• free of burns and other defects
• intact, fresh calyx
• short, fresh green stem cleanly cut
• for Flandria Extra (FLE), even higher quality standards are imposed

Super-fresh every day
Flandria aubergines are graded by weight, with a minimum weight of 100 g. They are divided into five sizes.
The main grade (+225 g) is supplied as standard in EPS-T 3 kg/crate with inlay card and cover sheet to prevent drying out and 5 kg covered aubergine boxes containing a uniform grade attractively presented. Other types of packaging are supplied on request from the trade. Flandria guarantees uniform quality in each pack.

What to look for on the greengrocery shelf
• Store aubergines at 10-13 °C, otherwise they go limp or the stalks shrivel.
• R.H. of 90 to 95% is desirable.
• Always cover them to reduce the risk of them drying out.
• Do not place near fruit and vegetables which give off ethylene, such as tomatoes.
• Leave them in the original packaging.
• Avoid extreme temperature variations.
• Never display in the sun.
Advise customers to store aubergines in a cool place at 15 °C, in other words not in the fridge. In a cool place, they will keep for a week.

Mediterranean taste experience
Anyone looking for a splash of sunshine on their table will revel in the outstanding and refined 'home-grown exotic'! Consumers who love Mediterranean-style cuisine will enjoy whipping up some surprising combinations to try. Dry-roasted, grilled, steamed, boiled, as a gratin, deep-fried ... this southern fruiting vegetable is surprisingly versatile in the kitchen. Aubergine lends itself brilliantly as a filling for other vegetables, in casseroles, with tapas, as a spread on little toasts, and more besides. It is the perfect vegetable to grill: easy to prepare, cheerfully coloured and simple to season. Help your customers to come up with ideas. Aubergines are light and healthy: this fruiting vegetable is packed with nutritional elements for a healthy, light diet: vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.

Benefits for the trade
This southern fruiting vegetable offers the trade all manner of benefits: constant supplies of a homogeneous product over a long period is guaranteed. Retailers can rely on premium quality, reliable deliveries and a product that is fresh every day, given the short distance between farm and fork. Tell your customers that Flandria fruiting vegetables are grown here in Belgium. They retain their fresh appearance for several days and are real best-sellers in store. Make yourself stand out from the competition with extra quality: Flandria top quality.

A feast for the senses
Give your greengrocery department a Mediterranean atmosphere by presenting Flandria aubergines along with other colourful fruiting vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, cucumbers and so on, to make a real feast for the senses. Tempt your customers with an array of different southern fruiting vegetables at a single attractive takeaway price.

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