The Valley of the Guadalhorce, Malaga, is a production center of Charentais melons, with more than 300 hectares dedicated exclusively to this fruit. Almost all of these round melons with orange pulp and great flavor are intended for export and go to French markets.
The Couteleau and Garcia company, based in Alhaurin de la Torre, has been betting for almost 30 years on the production of this type of melon for export in the province of Malaga, which due to its climatic conditions, offers an earlier harvest than other production areas, such as Almeria, Murcia, and Levante, and produces an average of about 6,500 annual tons of Charentais. The crop, however, requires certain techniques to protect its development, since planting begins in early January, when there is still the risk of frost and cold, and lasts until the first week of April.
Couteleau and Garcia use a system of mini-tunnels to protect the crops and don't use chemical products in their productions.
Stepped cultivation ensures that the market does not become saturated and that the market is supplied for a longer period of time. The collection campaign begins in mid-April and does not end until the second half of June.
During the harvest campaign, the company employs more than 800 day laborers, which forces it to resort to labor from other provinces (Cadiz, Sevilla and Cordoba, among others), which makes it an important source of employment in the region.
This year the plantation has developed without incidents as the scarce rains during winter didn't negatively affect it. If the weather permits, the Malaga company plans to harvest more than six million kilos of Charentais melons this season.