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  • Spain: Good prospects for Malaga chestnuts

    Sep 29th, 2015

    "Healthy and of really high quality;" that is how Malaga's chestnuts can be described, according to Asaja Málaga, which some European consumers are already enjoying. In Málaga it is still too hot to consume this nut, which is more palatable in a more autumnal weather. Moreover, people in Malaga are more accustomed to the taste of Pilonga chestnuts, so we prefer to wait until early October to offer tastings.In Cartajima and Igualeja, the harvest of the Portuguese variety has already come to a close, with little production due to this summer's incessant heat. Júzcar is now harvesting the Galician variety, which has also been affected by the heat.This weekend, the early Bravía variety has also started being harvested in Jubrique, with good prospects in terms of quality, sizes and production volumes; in a normal year, production may amount to around 40,000 kilos.

    Harvesting this chestnut, the early Bravía, is more laborious than other varieties and generates more labour, because it needs to be knocked down from the trees, like olives, since chestnuts, even when ripe, take very long to fall. As explained by Asaja Malaga technician Jose Carlos Ruiz, countries such as Italy are already eagerly demanding the nut. "Almost all production is exported; the domestic market is still very slow due to the high temperatures," he explains. "Summer has come to a close with torrid temperatures that dry up both the tree and its fruit. It would be helpful if temperatures dropped in the coming days, and if this arrived with rainfall, it would be a treat in the Genal Valley," he adds.

    About 3 million kilos

    This record-breaking heat wave that has hit Malaga is to blame for the expected decline in the Genal Valley's chestnut production. In a normal year, the 3,500 hectares of chestnut trees produce between 3.5 and 4 million kilos of chestnuts. In a few days, in early October, growers in the area will start harvesting the flagship variety, the Pilonga, and will then be able to provide early production estimates. But judging from what has already been observed, the production is not expected to reach 3 million kilos.