The Verna lemon season is underway in southeastern Spain. This year, the supply of this variety has been marked by low yields and an abundance of large sizes, which has caused the price of the medium sizes (more commercial) to be quite high at the beginning of the season.
For this reason, some companies have been extending the Primofiori season for as long as possible. "This year we will put an end to the Primofiori lemon season around May 20," says Francisco Vicente Gea Belmonte, commercial director of the Murcian company Belsán. "This variety is still of very good quality, even though ripeness levels are already high. Although the latest Primofiori are expensive, their prices are not as high as those of the first Verna. We prefer to wait a few more weeks and find a more stable market and more affordable prices," he says.
The rains in March and April have caused the Verna lemon to reach larger sizes than usual. "Besides, many growers in Murcia, southern Alicante and northern Almeria had opted to plant the Verna after the good commercial results of recent years, but have done so inadequately, which has also contributed to the trees producing lemons of uncommercial sizes," says Francisco Vicente Gea.
"In this campaign, therefore, we are finding ourselves with insufficient volumes of Verna and too large sizes, which we could sell in some Eastern countries, which prefer to pay cheaper prices, or perhaps also - to a lesser extent - in Baltic countries. What we cannot sell on the fresh market will have to go to the processing industry," says Belsán's commercial director.
Due to the supply situation, the Verna campaign could finish earlier this year. "Given the situation of the Verna this year, this will be the first season in which we will work with lemons from South Africa and Argentina, allowing us to continue supplying lemons uninterruptedly and make up for the lack of commercial sizes of Verna. South African and Argentinian lemons are already arriving in Europe and next week we will start to have all kinds of sizes available thanks to these origins, whose harvests are of excellent quality this year," says Francisco Vicente Gea.
"Many European customers prefer the Verna while it is still available, due to its freshness and the fact that it can be put on sale just 48 hours after being harvested. Therefore, both Spanish and southern hemisphere lemons will coexist in the coming weeks," he says.
Belsán will target its sales mainly to European markets in the summer months. "This winter we have shipped to Canada, although to a lesser extent than in other years, due to high freight prices," says Francisco Vicente Gea.