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Hnos. Catalán Ibáñez, from El Gerriko:

"We have managed to advance the start of the white asparagus production by two months"

In the Spanish region of Navarre, the 2024 white asparagus campaign kicked off with some delay compared to other years. "This year, the weather didn't allow us to get the land ready earlier, but with the heat we've been having, quite a lot of asparagus is growing and the quality is very good," say Nuria and Eduardo Catalán, from El Gerriko, a Navarre-based company specialized in asparagus.

"We started in the week of Easter, and although everything will depend on the weather, we normally have production until mid-May, a bit earlier than other asparagus producers in Navarre, since we are located in the Ribera de Navarra, in the municipality of Cortes, to the south, where it is generally warmer and the white asparagus cycle finishes earlier."

El Gerriko, which produces asparagus under the umbrella of the PGI Espárragos de Navarra, is a family business founded by the parents of Nuria and Eduardo. "We are a small company that conducts direct sales, marketing only our own production. Our parents were lifelong agricultural producers and they used to take their asparagus to cooperatives, which back then was the only option. However, the pay wasn't great, and it was too much work for so little money, so more than 30 years ago they decided to offer the asparagus directly to restaurants, marketing it themselves."

"In fact, until before the pandemic, we were almost entirely focused on the hospitality industry, but since COVID, when the horeca sector closed, we have also been marketing directly to individuals, and we continue conducting this kind of sales whenever we can," says Nuria.

"We have a very select clientele for the high-quality asparagus we produce. At El Gerriko, we prioritize quality over quantity, and when we reach our forecasts, we prefer to stop and let the land rest, so that it will have enough time to recover for the next season. Our customers themselves tell us that they can tell the difference from the rest when they try our product."

"We were among the first asparagus producers in all of Navarre to start cultivating in greenhouses"
As stated in the specifications of the PGI, "the quality and reputation that Navarre asparagus enjoy today are the result of the work of producers who have traditionally cultivated asparagus along the banks of the Ebro River, with unique cultivation techniques that have been passed down through generations and refined over time." This improvement in techniques led El Gerriko to opt for an innovative cultivation model in the region imported from the Netherlands.

"We have always devoted ourselves to the traditional open ground cultivation of asparagus, but in 2008, I learned of a new greenhouse cultivation technique used in the Netherlands to advance the start of the production. We were studying how to implement it here and perfect it through R&D, and after a period of testing, we have managed to make it work successfully. With greenhouse cultivation, we have managed to advance the start of the production by a month compared to open ground cultivation."

"Once we saw that it was possible and the advantage it gave us, we decided to take another step and advance the start of the production by another month with the use of heating."

"We were among the first asparagus producers in all of Navarre to start cultivating in greenhouses, and in fact, ours are among the first asparagus to arrive each season in Navarre."

For more information:
El Gerriko
Tel.: +34 627 40 29 64
[email protected]

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