The Spanish mango season is about to start. They're expecting a peak in volume this week. Next week, Agromartin will, however, enter the market with the first Spanish markets from the Huelva region. They'll also have Sensation mangos. Agromartin is part of the Spanish company, Plusberries.
"The Sensation is a variety that, until now, has been particularly well-known on the Iberian Peninsula. There it's the most popular variety by far," says Agromartin Plusberries' Diederick Meijer. "I wasn't a mango fan. But, this 100% sun-ripened variety is something else. It contains no fibers, and has a fruity, sweet, aromatic bite."
Agromartin usually focuses on selling Spanish strawberries, blueberries, and stone fruit. "Our high season for these is from December to the end of July. We start with strawberries around Christmas and end with the stone fruit season. So, between August and December, there's a gap in our activities. Two years ago, our company bought a new warehouse. This is used to sort and pack these fruits. We wanted to make full use of it. That why we analyzed which other products we could process."
"These needed to be harvested between July and December. We wanted to get the maximum use out of our facilities and labor force," explains Diederick. "That year, we bought orchards and started with oranges and mandarins. And now, also with the Sensation, sun-ripened mangos. We've set up a new packing line. We're going to package these mangos in new, recognizable, 7,9, and 12-piece boxes. Of course, it's the Aroma's brand. This is the Agromartin brand that has is already very well-known in Europe and elsewhere."
"The mango orchard has been in production since 1990. Until last year, we mostly sold these fruits, in wooden crates, to Spanish and Portuguese wholesalers. Then, 18 months ago, someone asked us if we could market these fiber-free, tree-ripened mangos to other sales regions. Agromartin is one of Huelva's largest family businesses. So, we're very well positioned in the European market. We could, of course, do so. But, we first had to make adjustments like getting Global GAP certification. We've had that since the beginning of the month. It's for the production and processing of these mangos."
Last year, the Spanish grower's existing mango orchard was thoroughly inspected. Specialists from the Malaga region did that. The area has also been enlarged with new trees. "In around 2023, these changes will bear fruit. We will produce 250 to 300 tons of Sensation mangos. We'll start harvesting in week 39. That will continue to week 46," continues Meijer.
"Pickers select only the perfectly sun-ripened mangos. They use a valuable harvesting method. They check the trees for ripe fruit every day. So, these are comparable to 'mangos by air', but from Europe. We're focusing on a luxury product. You can't compare the experience to the ripened mangos you usually find in the supermarket."
"Another advantage is that it's easier for us to bind scarce workers to our company. Every year, it's increasingly difficult to find staff. And in Spain, the coronavirus didn't help. By offering yearlong work, we become more attractive as an employer. We can keep better workers to us for a longer time. That's now possible. Thanks to the products the company is going to sort and package outside of the peak season," concludes Diederick.