Huelvan berry data shows gains for blues

Acold snap in early December is delaying the harvesting of the first strawberries of the 2021/22 in Huelva, Spain.

Berry association Freshuelva said a rainy spell after planting has generally been positive for the new season crop, although it had caused localised losses in some west coast areas.

“The subsequent high temperatures allowed replanting to be almost completed by mid-November and together with the cold snap in early December, this is causing a delay in the harvesting of the first strawberries, which are maturing slowly,” Freshuelva said.

The association said total planted area in Huelva remains similar to last season at 11,740ha. Strawberry acreage is up 1 per cent to 1,167ha, while blueberry plantings are up 6.7 per cent on last season to 3,532ha, as more producers opt for this crop to complement their strawberry production. Blueberries now rank second behind strawberries in terms of volume.

Freshuelva noted that there is also a greater degree of varietal diversification in blueberries, with growers investing in early season varieties that allow them to enter the market at the beginning of January.

In raspberries, there has been an 8.1 per cent contraction in planted area this season to 1,902ha. Freshuelva said this is the berry that has been most affected by competition from non-EU suppliers during the last two months.

Blackberry acreage is also down, falling from 145ha in 2020/21 to 139ha in 2021/22, a decrease of 4 per cent.

Freshuelva said the data reflects the consolidation of the trend towards greater diversification, thereby guaranteeing Huelva a market presence for virtually nine months of the year.