Fruit Today euromagazine talked to one of the people who knows most about the world of melons, Celedonio Buendía. Not just the person, but also his brand are both indisputable references: we are talking about Melones El Abuelo.
Do you think we are experiencing a mad rush to obtain new varieties which in the end do not bring much to the category?
I do not. I have no doubt that anything that means moving forward in flavour is very interesting, but we must join flavour together with profitability in the fields. The question is that there are already products that are spectacularly good that are not profitable in the fields and with which we cannot work.
Do the shape and size of the Piel de Sapo matter?
The shape, in my opinion, is not important at all. There is no point in changing the shape of an oval-shaped melon to a round one if there is nothing new with the flavour.
And with respect to the size, over the past decade we have seen a quantitative leap in the purchasing of smaller melons and this is a trend that has come to stay. The commercial reference previously was 4 kilos and today we are at approximately 2.5 kg.
Although it must be said that there are still many places where the large melons cut in half, a particular way of motivating consumption, continue to be successful.
For us, the current concept of a Piel de Sapo is a mini product, between 1.5 and 2 kg. If it is a Galia or Cantaloupe, with the same size, it could weigh more.
How has this pandemic fatigue that we are all fed up with affected you?
The lockdown did not mean any reduction in commercial volumes. It is true that we had 2 months when we didn’t cut up melons, but a general push of consumption in the households occurred that we all profited from. And then, halved melons went back on sale.
The current situation with shipping traffic has become slightly complicated, in addition to expensive.
True. The bottleneck in the Suez Canal affected us a great deal. We experienced a really awkward situation when there was no availability of ships or containers and this affected the imports from Senegal, which have now ended.
How did the season begin?
We have seen one of the most unusual springtimes that I remember in recent years, and this has not been good for us. In this region, we need water underground, not as hailstones. The first crops were delayed by around 10 days and there has been very little demand because in Europe the temperatures also did not encourage consumptions, which caused an accumulation of stocks.
Yes, but the weathermen are warning that we will have a very hot summer and this is always good for this product.
Yes, it looks like this is going to be the case. The truth is that the changes in the weather are becoming increasingly sudden, a situation that is not ideal for the fields.
No season goes by without something new at Procomel. What is new this year?
This is the first year for medium scale productions of ‘Matrix’ melons, a product that is reviving the flavour and aroma of the yellow melon, Tendral. Both internally and externally it is different to anything we have had up to now. With a natural hybridisation we have obtained a round, yellow melon, of the Matisse type with green veins of great flavour.