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Start of the 2023 stone fruit season

Start of the 2023 stone fruit season

The 2023 stone fruit season has begun. Two weeks later than normal, but thanks to plenty of sunshine, the fruit is exceptionally firm and has good flavor and Brix values. Product specialist Nico Veldhoen spoke with Freshplaza.com about the start of the new season. 

At the Staay Food Group, too, the Spanish season began two weeks late. "No volumes are available yet, but we've started," says Nico Veldhoen. "Because productions are two weeks behind, the market's completely different. A late market usually gives high prices."

“It's hard for me to put a finger on the situation in Murcia. Apricot harvesting started late, and the fruit's small because of the heat. The water shortage issue is well known. After the pandemic and Ukraine war, drought is the next problem affecting the market. Water trucks have to replenish drinking water supplies in certain Spanish regions. Even areas like Lérida and Granada, which rarely have these issues, now have severe water shortages," Nico explains.

“Added to that, you can consider almost all the fruit in Emilia Romagna, Italy lost. That's because of the frost in early April, followed by rainfall. That means from week 25 to 37, there will be barely any production in Italy. There are hardly any plums from that area, and the few there are, are for local consumption."

“The Italian situation offers perspective for growers in Lérida. Thanks to good water supplies, our growers there have good fruit and crop expectations which should result in a good season this year. We expect to market the first true Saturn peach volumes from week 22. Seville has a reasonable supply of nectarines, and we have to get peaches mainly from Murcia (from week 20). From week 24, that will be from Badajoz. So, until then, supply will definitely be limited," Nico continues.

He says the Spanish cherry situation looks promising. "We started carefully with these this week. We visited the cultivation area in Extremadura last week, and the cherries look great. It seems to be a good season. Water isn't an issue in that area, and everything appears to be going well."

“Volume-wise, it looks like it will generally be a quieter than usual May. There are no volatile productions. Stone fruit should also stay well-priced in May. We'll have to wait to see what happens after that. Fortunately, due to the many hours of sunshine, the fruit on the trees are exceptionally firm and have good flavor and Brix levels. There will, therefore, be an abundance of that," Nico concludes.

Source: Freshplaza.com