Picota cherries have been celebrated at an exclusive event in London marking the start of the new European season.
Picotas are Europe’s only naturally stalkless cherry, with the sweet and crunchy fruit grown exclusively in Spain’s Jerte Valley. They are available on the UK market from mid-June to August and are cherished for their beautiful appearance and delicious taste.
On 29 June exporters 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 for a special event highlighting the Picota’s many benefits. Laura Buezas, marketing manager for growers’ association Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle Del Jerte, ran the event and also gave the audience an outline of what to expect in the season ahead.
“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,” explained Buezas. “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 million kgs of Picotas being forecast for this year, the final size crop has been 2.5 million, 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 reported. “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 delicious 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 3rd July.