The situation is complicated in the stone fruit market. "Cold temperatures have blocked trade quite a bit. There is very little consumption, and selling prices have fallen. The public holidays of May 1st and 8th did not boost the business either," says Charles Farran of Ritex, a company specializing in stone fruits, based in Perpignan.
At the end of April, the European stone fruit harvest forecasts were announced at the MedFEL. "It seems that we will have a European harvest that is still 10 to 15 % higher than that of a good year. This represents an increase of 30 to 40 % over last year. This year, the supply will therefore be rather substantial, assuming that there will not be too much climate damage.
For the moment, the stone fruits marketed by Ritex come from Spain. French apricots will enter the market between May 15 and 20. Peaches and nectarines are expected around June 10.
Local market for French cherries
The French cherry campaign has just begun. "They come from the surroundings of Perpignan and the Rhone Valley," says Charles. "There is a great interest in French cherry. French producers are working on recent varieties that have taste. Spanish varieties have often been developed to last, not necessarily to have taste. The Lleida region is an exception, because it is known for cherries that have taste."
There are no large quantities of French cherries. "We can call French cherry a niche product. French wholesalers often work with their French cherry line and offer Spanish, Italian or Greek cherries alongside it, depending on demand. These cherries are available in larger quantities and prices are much lower. "Charles points out that French cherry is mainly a local product. "The South of France likes to eat French cherries."
The company Ritex works with stone fruits. The company is managed by Bastien Ripoll. Originally, Ritex was a local peach and nectarine producer which decided to market its products itself and expand its range with cherries and apricots from other local producers. It completes its range with Spanish stone fruits.
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