Adelita is the star of the variety research programme developed by Planasa in raspberries.
Although it was developed in the Cartaya installations (Huelva), the first crop was grown in Mexico. And in deference to the clients in this country, the variety received the popular Mexican name.
It has enjoyed an unqualified success and at present it makes up a large percentage of the Spanish crop. Between Spain, Morocco and Portugal there are around 780 production hectares, and some forecasts predict a thousand hectares being reached in 2016.
The important increase and development of the Adelita variety occurred even when it meant a complete change in the production approach compared to how it was being grown all over the mainland. Adelita was the first raspberry with a long flowering and fruit-bearing season, low chilling, without any winter halts and with an extremely flexible plant.
Planting of the Adelita can be carried out from June onwards, to produce fruit in the autumn and spring, and until July, August and September for producing in the winter period. “All this meant that the same fruit variety may be available throughout Southern Spain’s production phase”, Antonio Soto, head of raspberry R&D at Planasa explained.
Added to this important advantage is an excellent shelf life that turns it into a product that is suitable for exporting. And along with this, Adelita also represents the achievement of a fruit with an excellent size (some fruit have reached a weight of 16 grams) and good consistency, aspects that are very convincing for the producer.
The company’s current goals with this programme include building on the path opened up by Adelita, “that is to say, maintaining a plastic variety, improving its flavour and continuing with the research to obtain Premium varieties, which are in great demand in Northern Europe,” the researcher adds.
With all these attributes, Adelita has managed to take the place of previously traditional varieties because farmers do not have to be concerned about bringing the canes in and out of the chilling rooms.
The other raspberry variety, Lupita, corresponds to the first cousin of the previously mentioned variety, but with some differences that have made it not as popular: it has a lighter colour; it is slightly smaller and has a better flavour. “Lupita’s aim would be to have two harvests, leaving Adelita in the middle,” Soto emphasises.
Blackberries. After five years of research in raspberries, the blackberry programme arose, which today has its own future. “Our study includes seeking out varieties for the autumn and the spring. We have reconverted the programme following in Adelita’s footsteps, looking for some plastic materials that are tolerant of cold weather in order to obtain a complete production window and above all, a good flavour.”
Blueberries. Over several years Planasa and the American nursery Fall Creek maintained partnership agreements which, after reaching good results for both companies, have concluded. At present, Planasa is experiencing the second year of its blueberry programme. “It is easier to genetically handle blueberries than blackberries and I think this is the reason behind our improved progress rate. The increase in blueberry plantations will be seen in a few years’ time,” the Spanish researcher remarks.