While avocados and mangoes are the most widespread subtropical crops in the Spanish Axarquia region, there is a wide range of tropical and exotic fruits growing there. "We started growing kumquat 20 years ago," says German Mathias Trumper, of the company Giallo Royal. "We were practically pioneers with this fruit in the Axarquia; although it is not the only exotic crop in which we have specialized."
"We grow yuzu, Buddha's hand, kaffir lime and citrus caviar, as well as pitahaya, lychee and lemon grass. All of these have their niche in the European market. In the past, these products had to be flown in from Asia, and my Danish partner Tinna and I decided to try growing them in Europe. First we tried in a more experimental way, but little by little we expanded our crops, going against the trend in the Axarquia, which was to focus on avocados and mangoes. At that time, we already had a clear vision of what would eventually happen, that there could be a shortage of water, and that there would be a clash with the productions from other countries," says Mathias.
"However, once the production was achieved, the real challenge was to find customers, so a few years ago we started with direct marketing across Europe. Today our fruits are present in the Nordic countries, Denmark, Germany, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria, and in addition to selling to specialized distributors for select stores or haute cuisine, we have managed to set up important sales lines with supermarkets, also for kumquat".
Besides kumquat, another of Giallo Royal's flagship products is passion fruit. "Eight years ago, we were experimenting with its cultivation and we have managed to find a variety that is very well adapted to the area, and which stands out for its shape and flavor, as confirmed by our customers.
Biodynamic exotics and permaculture
Mathias Trumper arrived more than 35 years ago to the Axarquia, where he owned a farm of almond and olive trees together with Tinna. Shortly thereafter, agriculture in Andalusia would start undergoing changes. Olive and almond trees ceased to be profitable and tropical crops began their expansion in the region, recalls Mathias, so they chose to become involved in the sustainable cultivation of exotic fruits.
"We have been working for many years with organic crops, but we had the need to become even more sustainable and to work even closer to the land we belong to, so we decided to grow all our fruit biodynamically."
"Biodynamic agriculture is not focused on financial aspects, but on ensuring the production is self-maintaining and integrated into the natural cycle, without resorting to insecticides or fertilizers," he says. "We also cultivate in permaculture; that is, we avoid monocultures to provide a richer ecosystem for insects and prevent imbalances in soil nutrients, which can happen with the planting of a single species."
"For now, I would say that 99.9% of the biodynamic production in Spain is exported, so we have set ourselves the challenge of promoting it among Spanish consumers, so that retailers will open up to products with a Demeter certification. We are sure that there are many people in Spain who would like to consume biodynamic products."
"To this end, we at the association of biodynamic agricultural producers, Surya, are exchanging our experiences with other growers, as well as participating in fairs and meetings to promote biodynamics; a healthy form of agriculture that, unlike the conventional or organic, has a vital worth."
For more information:
Giallo Royal S.L.
Calle Los Prados Nº 2, local 3-6
29740 Torre del Mar, Málaga, Spain
Tel.: +34 620 749 090