Spain: exporter upbeat on cherry outlook

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Spain: exporter upbeat on cherry outlook

With harvest estimates cut in half, cherry volume looks exceptionally poor for this past season in Spain's Valle de Caderechas.

Following a cold spring and damaging hail storms, the northern zone could have its worst output - 50,000 kilos -  in a decade, cerezas_53336629according to

A little further east, in the neighboring autonomous community of Aragón, however, reports from the now closed season have been a bit more positive.

Juan Carlos Mojica of Fruit Diamond in Fraga explained that although weather dealt a blow to certain cherry varieties, the company felt positive about the season.

"The freezes in spring affected the flowering of two or three varieties. But we have a portfolio of 20 or 30 varieties, so it diminished some and increased flowering in others," the commercial director said.

"The biggest damage we felt was at the beginning of May for certain varieties that are very susceptible to cracking.

"That lasted for about two or three weeks of harvest where there was a considerable volume of fruit with cracking. But it didn’t manage to affect the overall season."

Mojica explained that although cold weather restricted flowering for certain varieties, later varieties benefited from the weather.

"The end of the campaign has been good. Prices are rising. Quality is good. The campaign started a bit impacted by the weather. The rains and winds created an effect on the quality of the fruit. But in general, the available offering has been of good quality and the prices have been good," he said.

This past season, Fruit Diamond produced an estimated 200 metric tons (MT) of cherries that reached a variety of markets.

"In our company, we have been good for volume. The measurements have been better than in previous years, also because we’ve tried new things. We’ve been sending fruit to China, the Middle East, so in general we’ve seen improvements in our portfolio and fruit quality," he said.

"The domestic market in Spain has also gone well for us this year. We’ve had a high proportion for certain periods."

Regarding future volume, Mojica also had a positive outlook. The company plants between 10 to 20 new hectares of trees a year and expects output to reach up to 500MT in the next two years. In the meantime, Fruit Diamond will evaluate which of its approximately 25 cherry varieties show the most promise.

"We’re still identifying which ones are the best to concentrate on and which others to throw out. We’re looking for high quality fruit, with a dark color, a long postharvest life and high brix level," he said.


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