The 2nd degree cooperative association ‘Valle del Jerte’ sold 17,000 tons of cherries in 2015 from its 3,500 members located in Valle del Jerte and La Vera counties in Caceres, Extremadura. In addition to sales in Spain, cherries from Jerte were exported to Europe, Russia, Brazil and China.
The association recently invested in a new digital sorting machine that uses the centrifugal force of water to separate the fruit from the stalk. Each cherry is sorted by external defects and colour via an infrared optical system built into the sorting machine, which also has a cooling system, keeping the fruit at low temperature.
“We’re investing in preserving post-harvest fruit quality. On one hand, farmers have cut the delivery time between harvest and storage and we’re very strict on temperature control at the packing house. Quality and consumer satisfaction are major concerns for us,” the Valle del Jerte association’s commercial manager Pedro Garcia Mesías told Eurofresh Distribution.
Jerte farmers are planting new cherry orchards that should allow a potential harvest of 24,000 tons are over the next 4 years.