Top months with Flandria courgettes

Flandria courgettes are a 'home-grown exotic' and a staple among the fruit and vegetables on offer. The LAVA auctions offer very flexible grading and packaging. Make your shop stand out from the crowd! Give your greengrocery section a Southern look, with specialties having their own spot in the sun. Ample production is guaranteed into the autumn.

Explosive growth
The area under Flandria courgettes has rocketed in recent years, with greenhouses in particular supplying good yields. The warm weather in early May has boosted production. The first peak is expected in weeks 22-23, reaching 1.2 to 1.5 million units/week. In June, the level increases again, hitting 2 to 2.5 million units/week by weeks 23 to 26. June and July are the top months. Early and late crops mean that fresh product is available continuously well into November.

Responsibly Fresh
Flandria courgettes also qualify for the Responsibly Fresh label, which stands for crops grown with respect for people and planet by socially responsible farmers. Cultivation is sustainable: less energy is consumed, thanks to the use of black sheeting to retain ground heat, bees and bumble bees are used for pollination, and water and fertiliser are used efficiently. Fruit and vegetables are grown and marketed quickly and locally.

Flandria quality guarantee
Product quality is very important to retailers and consumers alike, and Flandria guarantees this. Flandria courgettes are harvested by hand. Producers also take precautions to ensure that the courgettes do not come into contact with the soil, so that they retain an even green colour and a flawless skin.
Further quality requirements for Flandria include firmness, a natural curve and short, fresh stalk. Uniform grading is an extra plus-point. Courgettes are graded by the number of units per crate. The standard arrangement is on the clock, loose in EPS-T 10/12 units (min. 5 kg) or 14/16 units (min. 4.5 kg).

Pre-sale offers a choice
The LAVA auctions react professionally to changing demands from the market. The pre-sale system gives buyers plenty of choice: from grading of bigger courgettes to more units per pack. The growers can also supply Flandria courgettes in other types of packaging if buyers so request. The whole business runs in close collaboration between growers, commercial departments at the auctions and buyers.

Specialties
Flandria also markets some special courgette products to give retailers and shopkeepers a unique selling point. Yellow courgettes, a variation on the green kind, and round 'Courgette de Nice' are a sure-fire way to give your greengrocery section a real Southern twist.
Yellow courgettes are sold in lots of 10-16 units in EPS-T. The round 'Courgette de Nice' come in packs of 6-24 units/EPS-T with a cover sheet. 'Fleur de courgette' (the courgette flowers), which genuinely are a unique product in the trade, are packed individually in EPS-T (15 units) and boxes. This niche product is only available to order, by agreement with the auction's commercial department.

Tips for the shopkeeper
• Store Flandria courgettes in cool conditions at 10-15 °C and RH of 95-100%.
• Display in their original packaging.
• Avoid handling them too much, as this can damage them.
 
A multi-purpose vegetable
Green/yellow courgettes are very versatile: they are ideal in a stew with tomatoes, onion and aubergines, as an oven-baked dish, in soups or stir-fries, on the grill... there are so many ways to make them into delicious meals. 'Courgette de Nice' and 'Fleur de courgette' are brilliant for stuffing.
Courgettes are rich in vitamin A (60 µg) and vitamin C (16 mg), and also contain a good level of calcium (30 mg) and phosphorus (23 mg). At just 28 kcal/100 g they are also very kind to the waistline.
Giving shoppers some samples is a good idea. Tell them about how versatile courgettes are, and point them in the direction of www.flandria.be and www.lekkervanbijons.be for some recipe ideas and tips on how to serve courgettes.

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