Picota cherries were celebrated at an event in London marking the start of the new European season

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Exporters of Picota cherries – Europe’s only naturally stalkless variety grown exclusively in Spain’s Jerte Valley – welcomed key figures from the UK cherry industry, as well as Spanish chefs, social media influencers and trade press, to Barrafina Coal Drops Yard in London at the end of June for a special event highlighting the Picota’s many benefits.

Picota cherries are available on the UK market from mid-June to August.

Laura Buezas, marketing manager for growers’ association Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle Del Jerte, gave the audience an outline of what to expect for the season which runs from mid-June to August.

“It was an incredible event for us, because this was the first time, we could have someone representing us in person, and the experience is very different both for the company and for the attendees,” Buezas said.

“We made contact with great journalists, chefs, and other professionals in the field, and even the Chamber of Commerce and the Spanish Embassy took part. We are already looking forward to next year.”

The event took place during a challenging summer for cherry producers and fruit growers generally, who have had to grapple with tough weather conditions. While there have been substantial crop losses, Picotas are a strong cherry that have withstood the inclement weather better than other varieties, thanks to their hardy background of dealing with regular rainfall in the Jerte Valley.

Despite 4-5,000 tonnes of Picotas being forecast for this year, the final size crop has been 2,500 tonnes due to weather conditions. This year’s campaign kicked off one week earlier than the previous season.

“The weather, dryness and excessive heat advanced the harvest at the beginning, which led to a lower size of the first Picota crops,” Buezas said. “As we expected, it has been a prosperous campaign for Picota growers as a result of the low offer of conventional cherries.”

In addition to the launch event in London, this season’s marketing push has seen branded shroud units displayed in Morrisons stores, influencer collaboration with a range of recipes created, and advertising across both display and social media. Extensive social media activity also included special posts during ‘Pick A Picota’ week, which ran from 3 July.