16-08-2019 Ad van der Staaij (Savasun) on the Spanish apple season:
"The Spanish apple harvest looks good."
The Spanish apple season is in full swing. "Currently we keep about 45 people working with sorting and picking", says Ad van der Staaij who started Savasun - the Spanish cultivation company of Staay Food Group in the Spanish province of Tarragona - in 1987. Although vegetable growing is the company's main activity, it still has about 30 hectares of apples for export to the Netherlands. Moreover, in this way there is also work for the permanent employees in the summer.
Where areas such as Llerida and Girona are known for apple growing, this is not the case in Tarragona. "I don't know where else to find an apple orchard in Tarragona. But for us it has been working satisfactorily for years and the area is perfectly suited for apple cultivation," says Ad. The Spanish apples are mainly sold in the Netherlands via parent company Staay Food Group, only the Class II apples are partly sold locally.
Based on the recently published WAPA figures, the Spanish apple harvest is 14% higher than last year and 12% higher than the average of the past three years. "Fortunately, we have not had a night frost and the harvest looks good. We have been picking for two weeks now. We started with the Gala and are now in the harvest of Elstar. We go through the harvest four times to only select the most beautiful fruits. I expect that we will be picking Elstar for another ten days and then the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious will come.
The demand for the Spanish apples is good. "Elstar are hardly or no longer on the market and the Gala's have been cleaned up as well, except for some New Zealand. So the market looks positive, but only at the end we can take stock. We have to make sure that we are off the market when the Polish Gala's and the Dutch Elstars come on the market", says Ad.
About 10 hectares of apples are nominated for grubbing up after the season and apricots will replace them. In addition to plums, Staay Food Group will soon also have apricots from its own cultivation. An excellent addition to the already complete range of stone fruit from the specialist in Papendrecht. "And you have to try something new every now and then". "Furthermore, we are already preparing for the vegetable season. The first parsley and celery have already been planted and soon we will be busy with the cauliflower and lettuce varieties", the grower looks ahead.