The cherry trees of Tarragona and Lleida are already in full bloom. It has happened between 10 and 15 days earlier than in the previous season.
"About 80% of the earliest cherry varieties are already in bloom. If the temperatures continue to be good and no adverse weather phenomena are recorded, we expect to harvest the first cherries by mid-April. In March, we'll be able to estimate the production volumes," explains David Manero, partner at Cerima Cherries.
The company is working against time to finish the expansion of its facilities, including the new packaging lines, which will allow it to handle the production increase expected for the coming years.
"We will have more storage capacity and we will go from 10 packaging lines to 24 lines with optical calibrators, making it possible to handle up to 240,000 kilos per day in the busiest periods of the campaign, when several varieties overlap in the production schedule. We own around 450 hectares of cherry trees, planted mainly in Tarragona and, to a lesser extent, in Lleida. In the next 4 or 5 years, our plantations will be in full production, with a potential of up to 6 million kilos of cherries per year," says David Manero.
With this investment, the company is ready to work exclusively with large supermarket chains across the world, including the domestic market. Europe and the Southeast Asian markets are among its main destinations, ahead of the possible approval of the export protocol to China.
"We hope that the Chinese market will open soon to our cherries, since there is interest on our part, but also on the part of the Chinese importers, who want to be able to purchase our cherries. After the approval of the protocols for stone fruit and table grapes, we hope that cherries will be prioritized as the next product to be able to enter that market. Canada is also a market with great potential for our early cherries," says the producer.
Brexit is also among the company's concerns. "We have been working with the large British supermarket chains for years and we would like to continue doing so for years to come. We have already closed programs for this campaign, so we hope things won't go awry."