Picota cherries poised for rebound in UK thanks to better forecasts, new marketing campaigns

Produce Business edited news release

Spanish Picota cherry growers are looking forward to a “positive and well-balanced season” as the sector tries to rebound from devastating rainfall last year. 

Unusually heavy rain last June devastated half of the Valle del Jerte crop. However, there are high hopes for an improved season in 2024, with better weather and a high-quality crop expected. 

Picota cherry growers’ association Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle Del Jerte is anticipating a moderate campaign in terms of volume, with trees showing a balanced fruit load.  

“So far, everything is pointing in the right direction for very good quality,” said the group’s managing director Monica Tierno Diaz. “The balanced fruit load should bring improvements in quality and size, as the tree can better nourish the fruit. Compared to previous years, where drought was a threat to many crops, this year we have had a pretty wet winter and spring, with more cold hours in winter, which is good for stimulating fruit production.” 

A new 14-line optical grader that incorporates artificial intelligence should help lift the quality and consistency of the product.

“Picotas are unique because they are naturally stalkless, meaning when picked from the trees, they separate from the stem and are naturally sealed, which minimises their risk of dehydration,” explains Diaz. “This translates into a better and longer shelf life. Their rather small size also makes them the perfect healthy snack for the summer. We can’t wait to make them available for our loyal UK consumers.” 

Above-average expectations

The cooperative says the “combination of greater fruit availability and grading capacity is setting the sector up for a strong season.” An estimated 2-2.3 million kgs are slated for export.

UK customers and consumers will be offered a promotional campaign that will launch alongside the first shipments of Picotas from mid-June until August. 

That campaign will feature “branded shroud units in Morrisons stores, plus sampling as part of the Tesco summer retail roadshow at 40 stores across the UK.”

Three new summer recipes have been developed by Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy, while ‘Pick a Picota week’ will be highlighted on social media with competitions and influencer recipes. 



The Latest from PBUK

Subscribe to PBUK!

Get regular produce industry insights, sign up for our email newsletter below.