abbGrowers Serbia harvests first blueberries
The first blueberries in Serbia were harvested by the blueberry growers of abbGrowers Serbia. Brothers Marco and Luca Maksimović, who have 30 growers under their wing, represent abbGrowers Serbia.
abbGrowers considers a fair price to be very important for the grower. The growers chose abbGrowers in 2017 and since then have been able to make good use of the cultivation and market knowledge of abbGrowers in the Netherlands. Quality is also of paramount importance to the Maksimović brothers.
Collaboration with abbGrowers
“Our blueberry company, Maksimovic Brothers Doo, is the lading entity for blueberry production in Serbia,” say brothers Marko and Luka Maksimovic.
“We have set up an Association of Blueberry Growers here in Serbia, which now has more than 30 members and is still growing.
Fred Douven (CEO abbGrowers) has asked us to join abbGrowers in order to strengthen each other. Since then, our growers association has been committed to producing exclusively abbGrowers Serbia, an entity set up by abbGrowers to better serve the growers association. “
Fred Douven explains his motivation for founding abbGrowers Serbia: “I was looking for a growing area where blueberries could be harvested, during the period when the harvest in Southern Europe is declining and the Northern European season is not yet at full strength.
Because we want to be less dependent on third parties and pay the grower himself the fair price for his product, we have opted for our own branch in Serbia. Moreover, we can directly monitor how everything is going: the harvesting process, how many kilos can we expect and what is the quality. In addition, Serbia is a great springboard for rolling out blueberry consumption throughout the Balkans.”
“We want to get the best out of ourselves together. The many visits of Fred and meetings with us personally and our members of the growers association has reinforced this, “ Marco emphasizes.
“In 2016 we started with 1.2 hectares with 80% the blueberry variety Duke and 20% Huron. A year later we planted 2 acres of Duke and Draper. And the last planting was in 2018 with another 3 hectares of Duke, ”says Marco.
Our goal is to plant 10 ha with approximately 50,000 plants. Any further expansion would be limited by a lack of manpower, the composition and distribution of the areas makes it more difficult to manage. We want to plant another hectare in the spring of 2021.
We use the most modern irrigation systems, which makes pH and EC control a lot easier.
The development of the current growing season
“The cultivation had its ups and downs this year, Luka adds. Some spring frosts near rivers and higher ground, unexpected snow at the end of March and large temperature changes in a short period. But all things considered and looking ahead, we expect it to be another great season.
This year the harvest will start in week 24 and then we can supply the Duke variety until week 28. After that, the Aurora will follow until week 34, but in considerably smaller quantities. This year we are looking forward to the second half of the season with the later varieties, as this will be the first serious production. ”
“The quality will exceed expectations because all growers work on it full-time and in the same way. We too, at abbGrowers Serbia, are doing our best to deliver the fruit, fresh from the growers to abbGrowers Netherlands, in 72 hours as we did in previous years, ”the brothers Marco and Luka conclude unanimously.