Forgotten vegetables receive a new label
Vegetables which half the Belgian population are either unfamiliar with or have forgotten completely will in future be identified on shop shelves under the Bel’Orta label. On Monday these vegetables from various origins were first sold under their new label at the Mechelen vegetable auctions. Among these half-forgotten vegetables are Jerusalem artichoke, beetroot, kale, kohlrabi or parsnip. “In earlier days the Jerusalem artichoke was eaten just like a potato, but the popularity of potatoes caused it to take a backseat,” explains Hans De Meyer, marketing supervisor at the auctions of Mechelen. These mostly seasonal vegetables gradually lost their popularity as a longer cultivation period made them less profitable to grow. Most of these vegetables also need more soil and once the seeds have been sown it takes months before one sees any results. During the past few years the auction however felt it was time to reintroduce these “forgotten vegetables” to the consumer and demand gradually increased. “The increasing number of cooking programmes on television played a major role,” says De Meyer. “Since all the television hype started about three years ago, the demand has increased." The new Bel’Orta label does not only stand for ‘Belgian’ and ‘horticulture’ but the ‘bel’ also alludes to ‘pretty’.