This campaign, the cooperative will have 20% more tenderstem broccoli and the volumes of lettuce and regular broccoli are also on the rise
Open air crops are gaining importance at Unica. During this 2018/19 season, its whole production of winter vegetables and lettuce in the Murcia region is forecast to be 15% higher than last year’s, with emphasis being placed on the rise of a product that is becoming increasingly popular: tenderstem broccoli. In the crop’s third year, this cross between broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese kale) will reach 500 tonnes, 20% more than in the previous campaign. Unica already has 30 hectares of surface area in Murcia for this crop through its associate, Cota 120.
“The market demands innovation and we are backing new products,” states Chema Fernández, head of open-air crop produce.
In order to meet the growing demand by its clients, this year they will grow 3,500 tonnes of broccoli (+10%) on 300 h, and they will also increase their lettuce crops, with 10,000 tonnes and 400 h, all of them of the iceberg variety. In spite of these increases, Fernández affirms that Unica’s aim is “to be specialists in quality, not in quantity. We strive to grow the best lettuces.”
As a new development, they are working on a new line of mini snack romaine lettuces, which are currently in a trial phase and within the broccoli range, they are engaged in trials for planting in Granada and Albacete, aimed at being able to supply their clients 12 months of the year.
A new factory for Fresh-cut Produce
Unica is finalising the last details of what will be its new factory for salad processing in Murcia, alongside its colleagues from Navarra, AN. The installations, located on land belonging to Cota 120, are already finished and they are planning to perform trials throughout December in order to start with the first productions in January, according to Javier Pardo, manager of Cota 120. At present they cannot give too many details about this project, but Fruit Today has managed to discover that the plant will have a production capacity for up to 30,000 kgs per day, meaning around 100,000 bags of ready-to-eat salad.