Refreshing cold artichokes

Artichoke growers in the state of Alicante found their prayers answered. After the gloomy start of the campaign, where the heat reduced the harvest and made marketing difficult, the drastic drop in thermometers was hailed as a real manna. And beyond the slight influence on the leaves, the cold increases the quality and becomes a dynamic element of sales. the result is prices received by farmers increased by 50% in just two weekswill make it possible to improve the turnover of the sector by close to seven million euros.

If there’s one thing that sets winter vegetables in general and artichokes in particular apart, it’s that they need low temperatures to grow properly. And that’s exactly what they missed at the start of the campaign, because not only was the cold conspicuous by its absence, but the thermometers were way above what would be expected for a season like this. Antonio Ángel Hurtado, president of Alcachofas Vega Baja, said: “We have never encountered such a situation. It was spring and this affected both production and quality.” As a matter of fact, the yield in the production area consisting of Vega Baja and Camp d’Elx was estimated to be around 30,000 tons, down 30% compared to last year.

But that wasn’t the only result, as the temperate climate also affected sales. “It may be a psychological problem, but the truth is people are really encouraged to buy winter vegetables only when it gets coldand that unfortunately wasn’t happening,” complains Hurtado.

However, the situation has now turned 180 degrees. The sharp drop in temperatures that completely changed the pessimistic dynamics that the industry has fallen into.. From the beginning, the chairman of the association points out that “sales have increased significantly in recent days, when demand has increased significantly, as might be expected”.


The quality of artichokes is improving in general. According to Hurtado, “there are some areas where the cold has marked the outer leaves a bit, but this drop in temperatures is proving to be positive globally. Also, fruits that may be exposed to more diseases can always be diverted to the canning industry.

And it doesn’t end there, as the blast of cold also gives Alicante manufacturers a competitive advantage. “With the very high temperatures we’ve experienced so far, artichokes from other latitudes were entering where production should have stopped under normal conditions. Now, therefore bid will be reduced, it will be an advantage for us“, he argues.

At an Orihuela market, the artichokes were a little bit cold.

As a result, all these factors had an impact on the prices received by the farmers, and prices increased by 50%. Its price is currently between 1.50 and 2 euros., depending on the variety and size, which represents a significant jump compared to the economic conditions at the start of the campaign. Given that half of the production currently remains to be harvested, revenues could increase by around seven million euros than originally planned.

Pedro Valero, producer and head of Asaja in Elche, expresses himself in similar terms. According to his words, “it gets very cold but luckily it doesn’t freeze, so we have what it takes for the crop to develop properly and can go to market under the best conditions. And it’s all at better prices, he adds, because “lower temperatures have been shown to stimulate sales.”

But Valero isn’t in favor of instant launching the cymbals, as he explains: “The drop in production due to the hot start of the campaign is already a reality, and we’ll have to see how things develop from now. End of season, both in terms of market demand and prices. For now, things have improved radically. and there is satisfaction in the industry, but we will have to wait for due diligence.

Alberto Diego, a grower at La Unió in Camp d’Elx, acknowledges that prices have risen, but also points to rising costs facing farmers. “Electricity, water and fertilizers increased rapidly, so the benefits will not be the same as before as we witnessed this rise of inflation. The truth is we are witnessing real abuse,” she complains.

Artichoke was the vegetable that improved its economic forecasts the most with the arrival of the cold, due to the production level it reached in the province and its prestige in the market. Again, practically all winter vegetables benefit from this drop in thermometers. Their prices have also improved after an equally bleak start to the campaign, without reaching 50% price increases. This is the case with products such as broccoli, cauliflower or romanesco, which have also lost production and have quality problems. Even lettuce, which literally cooks in the fields and suffers from many marketing problems, has seen how the cold has become the perfect ally to radically change their situation.

Organic farming gets better prices in close marketing

Decreasing temperatures are beneficial for artichoke producers in general, especially with rising market prices. However, organic farming goes a step further because of the prestige its products enjoy among certain consumers, as well as the local business profession.

Alberto Diego is dedicated to this type of cultivation at Camp d’Elx, where he owns a farm where he produces a variety of seasonal vegetables besides artichokes, such as cabbage, broad beans, onions or young garlic. In his own words, “we sell directly to individuals and consumer groups in organic markets, and this allows us to get a wider margin through wholesalers than other manufacturers who stick to prices set in the markets.” » . This is because “we offer quality products differentiated by the way they were grown, and we are committed to a local product and a circular economy with an increasingly valued and growing number of followers,” he explains.

Nevertheless, he emphasizes that far from this, they can impose prices that will allow them to adequately cover costs and make minimal profits. “It is impossible to ignore the increase in costs we incur at all levels, as we will scare away customers. Consumers are also suffering from inflation and therefore are not in a position to accept exorbitant cost increases. As a result, we have no choice but to narrow our margins to retain our customers,” he complains.

Alberto Diego, on the other hand, considers the measures taken by the government so far to reduce shopping cart costs as “a pantomime”. The VAT reduction is not noticed by consumers because the final is only 4%.

Source: Informacion


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