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If you are reading this article as you eat your morning breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, the chances are the strawberries in your bowl are home grown right here in Spain. Andie Anderson tells us more.
The continuing growth of the strawberry sector in Huelva, Spain continues to symbolise one of the greatest successes in international agriculture in recent years. In addition to the huge economic importance of the sector, the province has singlehandedly made Spain the leader in strawberry production in Europe. With more than 95% of Spanish strawberry production coming from Huelva, this achievement would have been impossible without the dedication of the growers and organisations in Huelva.
How has this small Spanish province managed to give strawberry producers worldwide a run for their money? Without any European Union subsidies, Huelva’s farmers would proudly boast. Yet, despite the lack of EU help, Huelva is the only zone in Spain that has been declared it’s own economic zone. This has allowed them to create a series of agrarian and commercial laws (approved by the European Commission) that all growers must comply. The result has been the creation of a sector with strong economic and technological backing, in constant search of innovations and improvements.
With over 1000 strawberry varieties worldwide, nearly ninety-eight percent of the strawberries produced in Huelva come from the Camarosa variety (The Tudla, Big Bear, Cartuno, and Carisma varieties make up the remaining two percent). Farmers claim that Camarosa’s dominance is due to the idylic adaption of the Californian variety to the excellent soil and climatic conditions in Huelva. Camarosa strawberries are characteristically large, bright red in colour, have a good sheen to them, and are known for their early collection. The berry holds well, so it preserves its full red colour despite its long shelf life.
Did You Know?
* Spain is the second largest strawberry producer in the world behind the USA
* Ninety-five percent of the strawberries produced in Spain originate from the province of Huelva.
* Huelva produces approximately 300,000 tons of strawberries annually
* Fifty percent of Europe’s strawberry production comes from Huelva.
* There are approximately 93 strawberry growers in Huelva alone, 85 of which are members of Freshuelva, the main organisation assigned to promote Huelva’s strawberries worldwide.
* Nearly half of Huelva’s strawberries are exported. Generally France and Germany both import roughly thirty-three percent of Huelva’s total exports, with the UK, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Austria, and Italy making up the rest.