The Dutchman Jan van Bergeijk, founder of the Huelva-based berry growing company Frutas Remolino, started with 1 hectare of raspberries in the Andalusian province in 1989. Currently, it has 60 hectares fully devoted to the production of this fruit, distributed between the towns of Moguer (40) and Lepe (20).
Adelita, from Planasa
The most common raspberry variety in the plantations of Frutas Remolino is the Adelita, from Planasa, which accounts for almost 80% of the total. The other 20% is planted with some free varieties and the Enrosadira, from Vivai Molari. The annual production ranges between 8,000 and 15,000 kilos, depending on how the campaign develops.
The 2019/2020 campaign started just a few days ago and is expected to last until the end of next June. Although they are able to produce all year round, during the summer the activity is reduced due to the high temperatures and practically everything that is harvested is intended for the domestic market.
“When we started, back in the 90's, we picked the fruit in April and May, and we could harvest everything we wanted, because there was a gap in the European market. Later, as we advanced the harvest to the autumn months with the remontant plants, the volumes grew and the markets responded, because the consumption of this berry was also increasing,” said the Dutch producer.
Stabilization of the acreage
In the province of Huelva, there are just over 2,100 hectares devoted to raspberries. Jan does not expect a significant increase in the fruit's acreage, as he says that "the crop's progression has remained unchanged in recent years."
However, he is convinced that it is possible to grow in terms of volume with the same number of hectares and reduce harvesting costs if better varieties and appropriate techniques are used, because “the more kilos harvested, the more profitable the crop."
Van Bergeijk rated the latest campaign as “stable, with an average price of 6.5 to 7 Euro per kilo. With this, it is possible to continue moving forward; however, I'm hoping that the average price in the new 2019/2020 campaign will range between 7 and 7.5 Euro per kilo.”
Frutas Remolino, which is part of the Plus Berries Group, has an average turnover of about 2.5 million Euro per year; a figure that the 54 year old Dutch producer hopes to improve by the end of this campaign that has just started if everything goes smoothly.