The raspberry campaign is in full swing in Huelva, with the harvest of non-remontant varieties reaching its productive peak, while the second crop of remontant varieties is now starting. The pruning had been carried out in January. The weather is having a positive impact on the quality of the fruit, which is reaching reasonable prices.
Carlos Franco, technical coordinator of Onubafruit.
This year, the campaign started late, but the schedule went back to normal with the second harvest of the remontant varieties. "At the moment, we are only harvesting raspberries every other day, as the temperatures are mild, even though the days are sunny. The ripening is not very quick and the fruit stays fresh and firm in the plants for long; this allows us to reduce labor costs by taking the market prices into account. From May, we will start harvesting every day, as the temperatures will increase," explains Carlos Franco, technical coordinator of Onubafruit.
"Fortunately, the quality is good this year; the fruit reaches good calibers and has a firm texture, as well as high Brix degrees thanks to the good weather. It is worth noting that we are not registering significant incidences of pests. This is to thank to the combination of biological control with conventional techniques, which is yielding good results for us," he said.
The second degree cooperative is currently marketing its exclusive, non-remontant varieties Lagorai and Vajolet, which are now at their productive peak. At the same time, they are starting to harvest their new and tasty remontant varieties, the Shani, Wengi and Malling Bella, which have been launched this campaign, in addition to the well-known Kweli and Imara.
"Developed in the Netherlands, the Shani variety is characterized by being very productive; meanwhile, the English variety Malling Bella gives lower yields, but offers a very homogeneous color that does not darken in the course of the ripening, making it ideal for the British market. The Wengi variety stands out for its attractive, rounded shape and high production, although we have few plants this year. At the moment, both growers and customers are very happy with their results, since the fruit has a lot of flavor and is easy to harvest," says Carlos Franco.
While Spanish exporters have been surprised this year by the large amount of raspberries available from Morocco and Portugal, Carlos says that "the quality of Moroccan fruit has been badly affected this year due to weather issues, and has not been so well received by the market in general. Moreover, the transit time needed by Spanish fruit to reach the European markets is much lower. At the moment, prices are stable and acceptable."
When it comes to marketing the raspberries, Carlos Esteve, Commercial Director of Onubafruit, says that "in a market that demands the constant improvement of products, having varieties that provide more interesting qualities for the consumer is clearly an advantage. We seek a balance between the supply and demand with each variety; this means that our varietal schedule aims to make the most of each variety's most productive period."
"We probably have the best variety on the market today: the Lagorai, and there is stable supply of it throughout the year. As these new productions are added, Onubafruit's range becomes broader and more relevant, and that is a very important competitive advantage," he concludes.
Onubafruit exports its raspberries to Germany, the UK, France, Poland, the Netherlands and even Portugal. According to Carlos Esteve, the demand for raspberries continues to rise, although "at a slower pace compared to other berries, such as blueberries."
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