Beans - the taste of summer!

Beans are unquestionably one of the great culinary pleasures of the summer. From the end of June, there are ample supplies available. Retailers can rely on a super-fresh, Flandria quality Belgian product until late into the autumn. They can be sold both on the clock and at weekly prices.

More volume, a longer season
The expansion in the area under cultivation has meant higher production in particular of French beans, wax beans and string beans year on year. The Belgian bean season gets into its stride in June. July, August and September are top months and the LAVA auctions expect large quantities then.

• String beans: June: 100,000 kg; July and August: 140,000 kg
• Wax beans: June: 10,000 kg; July and August: 25,000 kg
• Round beans: June: 35,000 kg; July: 110,000 kg; August: 180,000 kg

The continuous shift from outdoor cultivation to growing under glass guarantees a staggered harvest, and therefore earlier and later production. Supplies are guaranteed until week 45/46. The LAVA auctions can therefore sell larger quantities of a handsome, homogeneous product over a longer period, which is beneficial for the trade!

Top quality
Controlled cultivation guarantees environmentally friendly production and top quality. Flandria quality means:
• products are picked young
• a fresh green colour
• uniformly dark green or uniformly yellow (depending on the variety)
• firm and crunchy
• a regular shape
• no traces of damage
• no threads

Flandria greenhouse string beans
Only string beans grown under glass are marketed under Flandria. The trade gets young, tender and straight string beans with a broad, long pod. The colour is deep green and the string bean is intact and free of any damage. There are hardly any beans in the pod.
Flandria string beans are graded by:
Colour: green and yellow varieties
Length and width of the pod: Flandria Extra or double Extra
+22 cm FL: 'very good quality' and uniform grading and careful presentation.
FL+: excellent quality, very careful presentation and very uniform grading.
External quality characteristics
• They meet the European standards for class I
• Minimum width: 1.5 cm
• Maximum width: 2.5 cm

On the clock and in pre-sale
Flandria beans (green, wax beans, mangetout) are graded and presented very carefully. Uniform grading guarantees a homogeneous product and attractive presentation in the packaging. Some growers carefully place two rows of beans in the crate.
The standard presentation for beans is in packs of 3 kg loose in EPS-tomato with a cover sheet on the clock. The LAVA auctions are also increasingly offering smaller packs in pre-sale: for example 400 g flowpack plastic boxes/trays, a guarantee of freshness and quality. Other types of packaging are available on demand from the trade.
Flandria string beans are graded by quality, colour, curvature and length/width of the pod. The standard presentation is on the clock as a loose product in 4 kg EPS. Other types of packaging such as flowpack cardboard boxes and 400 g flowpack are also possible.
Clock sale and sale at weekly prices are both possible. Via intermediation, standard packaging in 400/500 g trays, or flowpack, can be supplied at the buyer's request.

Keep cool
Display in the greengrocery section in the original packaging and do not stack too close together, to avoid crushing. The cool chain is guaranteed from the farm until the product leaves the auction. To respect the cool chain in the store, products must be kept cool, ideally at 5 to 6 °C and RH of 90-95%. Advise customers to be sure to keep this product cool at home too.

Culinary tips
Popular cookery programmes have stimulated customers' interest in fresh home-grown beans. You can capitalise on this hype by banging the drum for Flandria products: picked nearby, meaning low food miles, super-fresh and with a good long shelf life. And the health aspect also plays a role with consumers. Beans are low in calories and packed with all sorts of healthy extras: fibre, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Give your customers some culinary tips. Beans and string beans taste great when teamed up with other summer vegetables: why not try a salad of potatoes and beans, or a feta salad with peppers, tomato and beans, to make a tasty, super-healthy accompaniment to a barbecue! Another cookery tip to help customers to keep the quality at its very best: boil or steam for ten minutes until they are just al dente, and then plunge them immediately in cold water.

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