The first early clementine varieties have started being harvested in Valencia. The harvest has kicked off a few days earlier this year because of the premature ripening of the fruit and the good coloring due to the temperature drops in late August. The Spanish clementine campaign coincides with the gradual drop in temperatures in central and northern Europe, which is expected to have a positive impact on the demand, which is already higher as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have started marketing the first clementines of the season this Monday,” says Abel Alarcón, manager of Agrios Selectos. "We started with the Clemenrubi variety, which, in our opinion, already has the necessary organoleptic qualities."
Under its premium brand Brio Fruits, the company produces and exports clementines, oranges and lemons to France (where its sister company, Banagrumes, is based), as well as to Italy, Germany and Belgium, mainly.
According to Abel Alarcón, there is still a considerable supply of clementines and mandarins from overseas, “although there are already batches with quality problems due to excessive ripening. The demand for easy-peel citrus fruits remains high, as the pandemic is motivating consumers to buy fruits with vitamin C, given that it helps in strengthening the immune system.”
“I believe that the drop in temperatures in Europe could lead to the campaign starting with very good demand for the first Spanish clementines, which will compete with the advantage of their freshness. The international markets are already looking forward to receiving Spanish citrus. Furthermore, the fact that the stone fruit campaign and that of other summer products, like watermelons, has ended much earlier than usual is also leaving more room for citrus,” he says.
It will still take between three weeks and a month before the first oranges start to be harvested in Valencia. The European markets are short of overseas oranges, as imports from Argentina were suspended due to black spot interceptions, and South Africa will end earlier than usual, partly due to the high demand in the summer months. “We will have a good start with our first Navelinas. We hope that, in order to take advantage of the high prices, oranges won't be harvested prematurely in Spain, since if they fail to meet the necessary quality standards, the product could lose value in the following weeks.”