Consumers looking for something different are in luck, as the world's first orange-fleshed Piel de Sapo melon has recently been launched. It is the Sorolla variety, developed by the Spanish company Intersemillas, which has presented it as an exclusive, sweet product, with an amazingly long shelf life.
"A few years ago, it might not have made sense to introduce this improvement, but taking into account that many Spanish supermarkets now sell melons cut in halves, or even in quarters, the customer will be able to identify the colour of the pulp and choose between orange and white," explains Claudio Vidal, R&D director at Intersemillas.
"Besides the pulp's colour, the Sorolla is also characterised by a high Brix and a very crispy texture, which results in a very fresh bite. It stands out for its great homogeneity in terms of shapes and sizes, as well as its good adaptation to early cultivation in greenhouses and late in the open ground, in the middle of summer."
Moreover, it has a very long shelf life, which makes it very interesting for distributors. "It can lose some water content over time and become sweeter, but it stays for long in good condition after it has been harvested," says Claudio Vidal. Each piece weights from 1.5 to 2 kg in early cultivation, and up to 4-5 kg in late midsummer cultivation.
"We have now started promoting it in Spain. It can be quite shocking for consumers at first, since they are not familiar with it, but those who try it describe it as a Piel de Sapo melon with impressive organoleptic qualities," says Claudio Vidal.
With 100% Spanish capital, Intersemillas has been working in agriculture and for the environment for 35 years, selecting, producing and marketing seeds, and has established itself as one of the biggest national and international seed companies. It is based in Valencia and has 9 delegations across the Spanish territory. It is mostly devoted to the production of vegetable seeds, mostly of cucurbitaceae and solanaceae. It has a wide range of melon and watermelon varieties.
Intersemillas team at the latest edition of the fair ExpoLevante, in Níjar, Almeria. Esmeralda Marín (Delegate in Almeria), Ana Belén González (Delegate in Almeria), Santiago Pérez (Manager of Intersemillas), Claudio Vidal (R&D Director), Pablo Perez (CEO Plant Breeder) and María Gómez (Marketing department).
"We are specialists in Piel de Sapo melon improvements, to which end we have created specific programs. We are very familiar with the needs of the sector in Spain after so many years, and that is why we have so much plant material. However, with the help of new technologies and the rapid dissemination of information, we have increasingly been getting more demand from other countries in the world," says the specialist. "Today we already have a national catalogue and an international catalogue of products for areas such as North America and Latin America, the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, etc."
"We believe that the tasting of the product plays a fundamental role; melons and watermelons truly benefit from that. The second key aspect to take into account when developing new varieties is transport and storage. We never lose sight of this, since if a variety, however delicious, has a short shelf life, it is doomed to failure," concludes Claudio Vidal.
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