In the coming weeks, fruit producers of the Leonese region of Bierzo will find out what the consequences of the frosts registered in the middle and end of March were. “We are waiting for the flowers to drop to check the possible damage to the fruits. In a couple of weeks, we’ll know for certain what losses we had because of the frost,” stated the technical director of Bercia’s Association of Farmers (ABA), Pablo Linares.
Producers from El Bierzo grow Conference pears, Reineta apples, and Bierzo Cherries, all of which are recognized by quality or guaranteed marks.
Last year, the spring frosts reduced the Conference pear production to 9 million kilos, a little more than half of what is produced in a normal season. The Reineta apple was less affected by the frost and achieved a production volume of 2 million kilos.
Bierzo Cherry has had 4 bad campaigns with diminished productions due to the weather. In 2020, the region only produced a little more than 1,000 tons of cherries, i.e. nearly 50% of what they produce in a normal campaign.
The Bierzo Conference pear Guarantee Mark has 170 registered producers and a total cultivation area of 420 hectares, while the Reineta del Bierzo Apple Denomination of Origin has 90 registered producers, with 96 hectares.
The Bierzo cherry is mainly produced in 3 areas in the region, on the banks of the Burbia, Cua, and Oza rivers. The region has more than 200 hectares devoted to cherries which produce an estimated 3 million kilos a year. Their impact on the economic activity is estimated at more than 3 million euro.
Linares said that the first three months of the year were humid, which would allow the aquifers of the region to recharge adequately to face the summer season. “There will be no problems if there are no more frosts,” he said. The harvest of the earliest cherry varieties could start in mid-May, he added.