Artichoke growers in Brittany wait for a rebound in September
Following a sluggish market in August, artichoke growers in Brittany hope the European market heats up in the next few weeks. A slow return by buyers from their summer vacations has been noted as a reason for the slow start to the second half of the artichoke season, and once buyers get back to business, it’s hoped the market will pick up.
“It’s difficult right now because French professionals are now just coming back from holidays, so we are looking for buyers,” said Marc-Eric Pavillard of Prince de Bretagne. “It’s been better this week than it was last week, and it will be better in the next two weeks.” Though he acknowledged that this sort of thing happens every year around this time, this year’s break has been longer than in past years. As a result, the market has been slower to gain momentum this time around.
“There are really two problems,” said Pavillard. “Buyers are coming back a week later than usual and we have more volume than in other years.” But on the other hand, Brittany’s growers have been fortunate to have good weather. While many growers throughout France suffered through lots of rain, Brittany’s artichoke growers got just the right amount of precipitation. Further, when the majority of Europe’s buyers get back to work, Brittany will enjoy a window during which they will be one of the few providers of artichoke trading in Europe.
For Prince de Bretagne, Italy is an important market, as they take both small and larger sizes of artichokes. Other markets usually only look for the larger-sized varieties that go to the fresh market. While the French market is of the most importance, Brittany’s growers also export to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Prince de Bretagne launched a new variety in their artichoke assortment: Cardinal, a new purple artichoke. It has been bred by Prince de Bretagne research centre and is only grown in Brittany. “We expect to keep attraction of European buyers in the next few years. The potential will significantly increase each year,” stated Gaëlle Juton from Prince de Bretagne.
Besides Prince de Bretagne also started a campaign for artichokes to make artichokes more attractive for the youth. As it is a product that’s mainly eaten by older people.