After a delay of two weeks compared to last season, the first greenhouse peaches of the Spanish stone fruit campaign have recently arrived in southern European markets this week.
"We are harvesting the first yellow-fleshed red-skinned greenhouse peaches in Huelva, which have a good flavour and colour," says José Gandía, president of FreshRoyal. "The volumes are limited at this time, and fortunately, the weather is becoming more spring-like in Europe, which we hope will give consumption a boost. The first batches of fruit are mainly intended for southern Europe," he adds.
The harvest in Huelva has been delayed by about fifteen days because February and March have been colder this year. According to the entrepreneur, the frosts during the bloom in Murcia, the north of the Guadalquivir Valley, Lleida and Valencia, as well as those recorded in Italy and France, have caused the European campaign to be delayed, and this will also translate into significantly smaller volumes of early varieties.
"France usually starts harvesting its first peaches in late May and early June, but this year, frosts have destroyed much of the early harvest and delayed the rest. In Campania and Puglia, all the early stone fruit production has been lost due to frost," explains José Gandía. "This leads us to predict that there will be a smaller and more contained supply in Europe in the first part of the campaign, and therefore a greater balance between supply and demand compared to the previous year, which was disastrous in terms of prices."
Moreover, while last year there was some overlap between the main production areas in Spain, whose volumes have also increased disproportionately in recent years, "this year the campaign is expected to be more staggered, with a more stable demand in the months of May and June," he says.
FreshRoyal's stone fruit production is mainly intended for export. The campaign usually kicks off in countries of southern Europe such as Italy and France, which are large consumers of stone fruit, since they are also producers, and where good weather also arrives earlier. As these countries start harvesting their own fruit in June, exports move to countries in central and northern Europe.
In addition to peaches, FreshRoyal also produces and markets nectarines, Paraguayo peaches, apricots and yellow peaches (or Pavia), mainly in the Spanish market, as well as premium plums (Pluot® and Metis®). The company produces its own stone fruit until the end of June and later continues with the production of associated farmers in Lleida until September. In Extremadura, they have their own production of the hybrid plum Pluot®, as well as of Metis®, a natural cross between apricots, nectarines and plums.
"The Pluot®/Metis® have unique flavour components, higher sugar levels than conventional plums, and a significant aromatic complexity. Just like good wines, which leave a rich aftertaste in the mouth, the Pluot®/Metis® leave an aroma reminiscent of nectarines, plums and apricots," says José Gandía. "Furthermore, their nutritional properties are also superior due to their high ORAC content," he adds.
Although Pluot® and Metis® are being sold across Europe, FreshRoyal has plans to increase sales in the Spanish market, to which end it will carry out some promotional campaigns. "We are coming to terms with the fact that Spanish consumers are increasingly concerned about health and well-being. Good tasting and antioxidant-rich products, such as blueberries, are becoming trendier, and Pluot® and Metis® could take advantage of this. Athletes who seek to improve their performance and recovery, mothers who seek healthier food for their children and older people who seek to take care of their health need products like these."
For more information:
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Sevilla - Spain
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