Boulogne-Billancourt, FRANCE, 2016-Aug-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — Carrefour has launched its 22nd Carrefour Quality Line: a deliciously sweet, fleshy and firm cherry. Belgian from the stalk to the pip, it is grown in the fertile regions of Hesbaye and Condroz.
The Carrefour Quality Line (FCQ) guarantees that Carrefour’s products meet five criteria: taste, food safety, value for money, authenticity and sustainable development. These criteria are included in a set of specifications that producers apply to guarantee respect for the customer, fruit and producer.
At Carrefour Belgium, the first Carrefour Quality Line was launched in 2000. In 2016, 21 Belgian products had been awarded the Carrefour Quality Line label, and some 1,850 Belgian producers supply our lines. Now, Carrefour has added its 22nd Belgian line: a magnificent and juicy deep red cherry grown entirely in Belgium and selected for its firmness and deliciously sweet taste.
The producer, Raf Gielen, was one of the first in Europe to plant cherry trees. His oldest plants date from 1988, of which he has kept four rows out of nostalgia. In fact, a cherry tree gives its first fruit after six to seven years, and its yield peaks between its 8th and 25th years. The silty soil of Hesbaye and Condroz and the Belgian climate allows the cherry to grow at its own pace without pressure. That’s what gives it its smooth and sweet taste.
A sustainable business
Raf Gielen’s business is a model of environmental conservation. For example:
- Organic waste is immediately collected to prevent insects from laying eggs in the fallen fruit and contaminating the plots
- No weed killer or fertilizer products are used at the growth and harvesting stages. Nothing is treated after the harvest
- Photovoltaic panels, fridge curtains to prevent the loss of cold air, and the use of LED or energy-saving lamps
- Use of bees to pollinate flowers
Current pilot project: a small semi-organic test plot.
Cultivated in Belgium from stalk to pip
Thanks to the CQL, Carrefour Belgium supports Belgian producers by forging strong ties with them based on respect, encouragement and loyalty and provides customers with the promise of regional produce. After seven years of working with Ralf Gielen, the launch of Belgian CQL cherries provides further proof of this commitment. Grown on an 86-hectare site exclusively for Carrefour, the 2016 season of Belgian CQL cherries promises to be a vintage one. Customers can already enjoy them in all Carrefour Hypermarkets and its Market and Express stores.
Grown under cover
The cherry is highly sensitive to rain or, worse still, hale and an entire crop can be ruined by a heavy storm. That’s why they ideally need to be grown under cover. In 2014, the producer’s crops were badly damaged by rain. At the time, only 30% of his production was under cover. Since 2015, he has invested heavily in his farm to protect most of his orchards. This year, 80% of his orchards are covered. Since the harvest is guaranteed, we were able to launch our Belgian CQL cherries in total peace of mind. The trees are covered in mid-May when the cherries start to grow.
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