Since the beginning of February, Belgian cucumbers are once again available at the REO Veiling. These are cucumbers from traditional cultivation. Cucumber is primarily a summer vegetable. But thanks to innovative cultivation methods, modern production systems and the expertise of its growers, REO Veiling cucumbers are available almost all year round. Martine Ingels, product manager for cucumbers at REO Veiling: "Cucumber cultivation in West Flanders is becoming increasingly professional, which is why it has been on the upswing here for several years now. In 2020, REO Veiling sold 37.7 million Belgian cucumbers from traditional cultivation, compared to 19.3 million in 2010. That is almost twice as much in 10 years! This makes REO Veiling Belgium's most important auction when it comes to selling domestic cucumbers from traditional cultivation on the Belgian and European fresh market. Partly due to their guaranteed Belgian origin and the great flexibility that the REO growers show when it comes to packing the cucumbers as required by the market, the cucumbers from the REO Veiling find their way quickly to both the Belgian retail market and some important export markets. Supply is highest from May through August. This year, we expect another good harvest and a slightly higher supply compared to last year. This is just as well. Because cucumber is a much-favoured ingredient in Belgian cuisine. On average, 12% of Belgians eat cucumber every day!
Cucumber grower Jasper Haghedooren from Westrozebeke offered the first Belgian cucumbers of 2021 from traditional cultivation at the REO Veiling. The first cucumbers of the Proloog variety were auctioned under the Belgian quality label Flandria. Jasper Haghedooren's modern horticulture business only grows cucumbers under glass on a total area of almost seven hectares. "We are in continuous production until the beginning of November on the basis of three cultivation cycles," explains the dynamic REO producer. "We grow our cucumbers in the traditional way and thereby pay great attention to sustainability. We strive for production that is as energy-efficient as possible and of the highest possible quality through, for example, biological crop protection, water recuperation and automatic climate control. In our greenhouses, screen cloths are hung up so that less heat is lost in the winter and the brightest sunlight is filtered in the summer. The current evolution towards sustainable cultivation will undoubtedly continue in the coming years. The sustainable applications not only reduce heating costs, but also improve the growing climate in the greenhouses, which naturally benefits the full flavour and quality of our cucumbers. You can see that in their beautiful glossy colour."