Skip to content
Eastern Pyrenees: Peach growers switch to almonds

Eastern Pyrenees: Peach growers switch to almonds

Eastern Pyrenees: Peach growers switch to almonds

In the Eastern Pyrenees, the sharka disease has left deep marks on the landscape. This disease, which affects peach and apricot orchards, has forced fruit growers to think about new harvests. This is how almond trees came under the authority that has been in force for the last ten years. The La Melba cooperative, founded in the small village of Bouleterner (Eastern Pyrenees), in the heart of the peach and nectarine production zone, was one of the pioneers in the development of almond cultivation. To this day, we harvest fruit from more than 300 hectares of orchards.

Cleaned and processed

“Our production should reach 350-400 tons this year and at least 600 tons when all the orchards currently planted reach maturity,” explains Estel Alarcón, the cooperative’s director of operations. But producing is one thing, then you have to sell the fruit, find a market… “After harvesting, at the end of summer, we remove the slightly pubescent layer from the fruit so that we can store the almonds in their shells.”

Subsequently, as Estelle Alarcón explains, many outlets have emerged: “Some are sold as is, with large-scale distribution through the channels we have with our summer fruits, peaches and nectarines. Another part is sent to Spain to be cleaned and de-shelled. They are then processed into creams or powders, which are mainly sold to wholesalers.” With the exception of the range of pasta under the Mandaya brand, which is sold directly by the cooperative.

Almonds to taste

The situation is not entirely satisfactory for the cooperative, since wholesalers pay too little for the products. So, from this year, La Melba will launch snacks, salted almonds, barbecue flavors, onions, thyme… “These are new products that are sold in small pots and are mainly aimed at specialist stores, but also through the brand’s website and mass distribution,” continues Estel Alarcón.

This default diversification required significant investment, but it is beginning to bear fruit. In particular, it has allowed for the creation of one and a half jobs within the cooperative. As for other attempts at diversification, such as pomegranate, they will remain little known due to the lack of markets.

Source: Le Parisien

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular