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Melons of Villaconejos... Or Brazil?

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Melons of Villaconejos... Or Brazil?

The fame of melons of this municipality has given rise to picaresque: majority comes from Brazil, Senegal or Murcia

And this year y will collect a 90% less of melon is indigenous to drought

Many melons boast in ir labeling to be "auntic" Villaconejos. But what is certain is that natives, who managed to give world-wide fame and economic benefit to place, are not many. Only Cooperative Society in Field of Villaconejos marketed 20,000 tons dand this fruit each year, to which should be added those who put on market a dozen of stores that exist in this municipality in south of Community of Madrid. But according to data from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 692.056 tons of melons produced in Spain, just 5.160 correspond to Community of Madrid.

little by Little, this village 3,350 inhabitants has gone from being a producer to marketer, and has begun to work on species that are more profitable. A fact that began to take shape after boom experienced 20 years ago. Currently, this industry generates 300 jobs in village, but mainly y are related to logistics.

"The people what y want is to move a lot of weight to win money. Everyone is looking for doing business with fame of melons", denounced some voices that prefer to remain anonymous. For this reason, from late October to late march or early April, bring melons from Brazil to municipality, where y are manufactured. From that date begin to come from Senegal, Almeria and Murcia. In July y begin to work with product of Castilla-La Mancha, and or towns of Madrid, such as towns of Villamanrique and Tembleque.

"re are Not so many acres in village to plant melons. What we basically supply demand of Community of Madrid and little more and y are moving 60.000 kilos a day,", explain in this village, where debate on this business arises in any corner.

According to data from Ministry, in region re are 360 hectares dedicated to cultivation of this fruit in season, and y only produce 200 tons of native varieties, which does not have protected designation of origin by lack of sufficient production and lack of agreements to make it.

"it Is very complicated to do so, and that is something beneficial for everyone. They would have to get agreement of farmers, Municipality and group of salesmen," explains José Carlos Velasco, president of Association of Farmers of Villaconejos.

From Ministry warn that re is a rules of tagging - general, and one of requirements to be fulfilled by marketers is to indicate full name of country of origin.

Lack of profitability

The low production of melon native responds to lack of profitability selection. Villaconejos has opted mainly for cultivation of a melon hybrid. A hectare of land can give up to 50 tons of this type, which is more elongated, more rugged, with more weight but worse taste. In contrast, in that same ground out between 12 and 15 native and product is paid at same price, so in this case it often does not reach to cover even costs of production.

This year, situation will be even worse because of drought. From cooperative of people point out that crop in general subsides in around 15%. The figures for melon is indigenous -which is rainfed - will be even worse. With luck, it will pick up 10% of production of last year. The lack of water and humidity of early may have done that will plant approximately a 80% less surface area than usual.

To distinguish auntic Villaconejos melon, and that consumer will not give cat by hare, farmers of area reveal a series of keys. The first has to do with weight. Madrid's smaller: with about two and a half kilos, about a kilo less than hybrid. Has a lot of water and very little bark. Anor difference to naked eye is color. It is more dark and has very little stripe. "It is typical that gives fruit bowl and you don't want to, but taste is far superior. It has nothing to do", concludes a farmer who still opting for tradition.

The final clue has to do with season. The native is beginning to pick up to end of August (frog and owl) and last collect (blue) bear until December. If you find melons after Christmas, is not kind of melon that has made this town famous.

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