Earliest production zones are reporting a good quality crop this year

Mother Nature has smiled on stonefruit producers in southern Spain this year. A benign lead up to the new season has resulted in a good quality crop, and the export campaign has got off to a solid start.

El Ciruelo

Andalusia-based Royal started its stonefruit season in the first week of April, noting that “this year’s harvest is marked by good sizes, beginning the harvest with a predominance of A sizes, and good ripening of the fruit”.

Since the second week of April, the company has been supplying a range of stonefruit varieties to European retailers, including yellow and white-fleshed peaches and nectarines as well as Sanguinas.

In the Region of Murcia, meanwhile, harvesting of extra-early varieties got underway in in mid-April, a few days earlier than normal thanks to the favourable climatic conditions. The campaign for mid-season varieties was due to begin around week 21 and run through to July, with late-season fruit available until August.

“Last year the season started late and exports to the UK didn’t get underway until June. Taking into account that our biggest supply in in April and May, this had a direct impact on our campaign,” El Ciruelo told Fruitnet.

Together with Murcia, Andalusia is critical in meeting demand during the spring window – as Europe’s earliest production zones, the first arrivals are eagerly anticipated by the supermarkets as they transition from winter to summer fruits.

Barring any unforeseen weather events, Murcia should see an increase in exports this year. In 2023, the region exported 132,000 tonnes of stonefruit, equivalent to 18 per cent of the total Spanish crop.