June marks the end of the berry harvest in Huelva. According to the Onubense Association of Producers and Exporters of Strawberries, Freshuelva, in 2017-2018 5,800 hectares of strawberries, to which must be added 2,800 hectares of blueberries, 2,121 hectares of raspberries and 180 hectares of blackberries, were cultivated.
In general terms this is a good harvest, thanks to a mild winter, which has also contributed to the good quality product.
Traditionally the area of Huelva has been the center of production of strawberries throughout Europe. It is estimated that 90% of European production is in the southwest of Spain, and much of this production ends up being consumed by the countries of the European Union, mainly in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands.
Until a few years ago, the consumption of berries in the Spanish market was limited almost exclusively to strawberries, but recently it has joined the consumption of other berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, already popular in Central Europe. Year after year, the upward trend of berry consumption is confirmed and crops have been diversified to include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. More importantly consumers are buying and eating strawberries for a longer portion of the year.
One of the challenges that we face at Surexport is to be able to break the seasonality of the berries and to offer our customers fresh fruit throughout the year. In order to supply the demand 365 days a year, we have established a global network of berry producers. Now that the season has ended in Huelva, we will move production to Galicia and Portugal. In this way, we’ve managed to extend the production of berries in the peninsula for a few months and ensure the supply of these fruits throughout the summer.
Another key factor is that we work to ensure the production of berries throughout the year is the research and development of different varieties that may be earlier or later in their maturation, and thus be able to extend the time-period of the production cycle.