Just a few years ago, the prospect of exporting Spanish-grown raspberries to Asia was a mere pipedream. But, thanks to Planasa’s Adelita variety, this has now become a reality. Soloberry has carried out several air shipments to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, which Rachel Montague-Ebbs describes as having been a success.

Nevertheless, she says developing the Asian market has been put on the back burner for now due to the high level of demand that exists in Europe. Soloberry’s raspberry acreage continues to climb steadily, with growth spread across its production regions to ensure continuous supply from September to June.

The company is one of the largest club members of Planasa’s Adelita breeding programme, in addition to which it grows sister variety Lupita which complements Adelita in its timing.

“We’re also trialling new selections from Planasa, but they only reach commercial production if they offer something different or better than Adelita,” says Montague-Ebbs.

Until recently, it could be argued that one of the key factors holding back the development of the raspberry market was a lack of continuity of supply and to this end, the arrival of club varieties such as Adelita are revolutionising the category.

“The structure of the Adelita club, and the variety’s flexibility, have changed the sector, and highlighted what opportunities there are to sell more raspberries,” Montague-Ebbs agrees.

“There is now a range of good varieties available for growers to plant, although most are in closed programmes so not available to all.”