An alternative to Verna lemons and the importance of overseas exports

"New Summer Prim lemon to help extend Fino campaign until June"

The new lemon variety Summer Prim has already had its first commercial year as a protected variety. It is a spontaneous mutation of the Fino lemon, detected in Murcia in 2005, although a number of factors can help distinguish both varieties. One of them is the harvesting schedule, since it has the optimum amount of juice to be harvested in the month of February, and the harvest period lasts until June. Its breeders consider it a good alternative to the Verna when it comes to productive consistency, amount of juice and quality of the skin, which is thinner and smoother, similar to that of the Fino lemon.

According to Charo Marín, technical director of GCM Variedades Vegetales, the tree of this variety is more vigorous than the one of Fino lemons, which are appreciated for their shape and their thin and smooth skin. "The Summer Prim has all the qualitative characteristics of the Fino lemon and an extra late ripening, which makes it possible to extend the Fino campaign in the spring-summer without having to resort to costly and unstable imports," she says.

"This new variety has a higher productivity than the Fino lemon, since the Summer Prim tree is approximately 15% larger. It also guarantees more consistent and regular harvests than Verna lemons, with which it would coexist in the market and whose returns tend to be very inconsistent each year," she says. "It contains good amounts of juice and reaches commercial sizes oscillating between 53 and 67 mm, with most of the fruits sorted under Class 1. There are also fewer discards than with Verna lemons."

Moreover, it is also worth noting its good degreening, shelf life in chambers and resistance to long-distance shipments. Recently, a protocol has been opened in China for Spanish lemon exporters under very strict cold treatment requirements that few varieties can resist. "We believe that the Summer Prim could be a more resistant variety that may be shipped at very low temperatures. We are conducting all the necessary tests in order to meet this new demand."

The protected varieties model is becoming increasingly important in the citrus sector, although we are more accustomed to seeing it with mandarins and oranges and not with lemons. "The benefit of being a protected variety lies in protecting its added value, which is good for the breeder, the producer, the business and the consumer, avoiding the possibility of market oversupply," says Charo Marín.
Lemons have been a booming product in recent years and this has translated into better campaigns also for the producers. "The interest in new lemon varieties is very high at the moment," affirms Charo Marín.

For more information:
Charo Marín
Ctra. Gibraleón - San Bartolome Km. 7.321500 Gibraleón, Huelva. Spain
Tel: (+34) 959 504 273
Fax: (+34) 959 332 845


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