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Spain: Natural experiments to treat plums
While it is true that the organic culture is increasingly visible in the country, the process of adapting from traditional to organic cultivation entails some trial and error. "Under the supervision of the agronomist, we are constantly trying things to reduce the use of pesticides and other chemical products, replacing them with other natural methods," explains José Antonio Arenas Molina, manager of Señorío de la Vega. So far, by fumigating with a mixture of skimmed milk and sodium bicarbonate, they have succeeded in replacing one of the three fumigations they had been doing. Next year, if all goes well, they will try to replace another one, and so on, until they have completed the transition. "In any case, we should not be overconfident, as pests are increasingly aggressive and can also develop. That is why we cannot set a definite date for our full conversion," explains Arenas.
This Cordoba-based company, together with other producers in the area, is able to produce about half a million kilos per year. "We do some very heavy thinnings, as we seek to have plums of a competitive calibre," stated the representative of Señorío de la Vega. They have the Fortuna and Sungold varieties, and although these are quite common in the Spanish market, "we differentiate ourselves by offering a product that always reaches 19 or 20 Brix degrees," he explains. "We want to make sure that the plums are consumed as a dessert and enjoyed as such; that they are not only consumed because of their vitamins."
As for prices, Arenas assures that their campaign has not yet started, as they are waiting for the fruit to reach the degree of ripeness they want to offer their customers; however, they comment that "the campaign has kicked off with 1 Euro per kilo, about 0.10 Euro cheaper than last year."
For more information:
José Antonio Arenas Molina
Señorío de la Vega
Tel.: +34 629 131 480
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