Picota cherries

Germany and the UK are Picota's biggest markets

The harvest of stalkless Picota cherries from the Jerte Valley in Spain is forecast to fall dramatically on last season’s volume.

According to José Fernández, president of the denomination of protected origin (DPO) regulatory council for cherries from the Jerte Valley, the crop is expected to pack out to some 4,000 tonnes.

The DPO has started certifying this season’s fruit, which is expected to fall 50 per cent on last year’s volume because of the cold wet spring. However, Fernández believes that despite a decline in volume the quality of the crop will be higher than last year.

Four different Picota varieties are grown in the valley in Extremadura. The earliest is Pico Limón Negro, followed by Pico Negro, Pico Colorado and Ambrunés, which is the latest and, usually, sweetest variety having spent the longest period of time on the tree maturing.

The UK and Germany are the leading international markets for Picota, which is predominantly an export crop.

ángel Prieto, president of the Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle del Jerte, which groups together a number of Picota-growing co-ops in the area said that there was 25 per cent less blossom this year.

He said: “It is worth remembering that the earliest Picota last season arrived on international markets on 25 June with some 80t a day rising to a peak of 300t a day. Figures this season are likely to be much lower.”