VITORIA – HAZI, responsible for Basque quality certifications, has confirmed that during the 2020 campaign in Álava 375 hectares were dedicated to potato production under the guarantee brands Eusko Label and Euskal Baserri. In the end, in total, 8,773 tons of potatoes were packaged, of which 69% were labeled under the Eusko Label brand and 31% under the Euskal Baserri brand.
Compared with the previous year’s campaign, 23% more potatoes were labeled in 2020. And it is that the commercialization of potatoes with a guarantee mark, mainly potatoes with the Eusko Label, has had an upward historical evolution. Since 2012 the amount packed has increased by 3,411 tons; that is, an increase of 127%. Regarding quality, although the beginning of the harvest was conditioned by adverse weather conditions, in the end, it was possible to achieve a good yield and a product with good quality parameters.
In accordance with what is established in the quality specifications, in order to present a product with these certifications, the Eusko Label potato producers and packers put special care in the production, selection and storage of the product. Farmers avoid the collection of the tuber in the hot hours of the day, and they collect it at dawn so that the potato does not exceed a certain temperature, otherwise it would not be selected as an Eusko Label potato. Potato storage must be done carefully, without reducing the temperature excessively and avoiding the metabolization of sugars, but maintaining a balance between humidity and temperature that prevents the development of fungi and bacteria that spoil it.
To ensure that the potato reaches consumers with the security of zero waste , producers avoid using anti-germinants or other types of phytosanitary products. The sector is investing in the research of sustainable production systems to maintain the quality of the potato from its harvest until it reaches, after its conservation, the consumers. Finally, it should be noted that the Eusko Label potato, in addition to being commercially present in the Basque Country and neighboring areas, is gaining presence in Spain, especially in Madrid.
A ubiquitous food in homes and restaurants, the characteristics of the Alava potato owe much to the climate, the soil and to being a crop rooted in rural tradition. These circumstances have meant that, today, the Álava potato is recognized by consumers as a product of the highest quality. The Eusko Label brand only protects varieties that have passed the established quality tests. After sowing, cultivating and harvesting, always respecting the environment, the best potatoes are selected to offer the consumer a healthy, homogeneous and quality product.
To certify that this is the case, the Álava potato with the Eusko Label is sold in different packages, depending on the variety, with the Eusko Label logo reproduced on the outside of the package, the sole guarantor of the authenticity of the product. And the fact is that the Patata de Álava quality seal is only granted to those potatoes that meet certain high quality requirements and that are defined in the Regulation prepared by producers and technicians, and whose control is guaranteed by HAZI, supervising from the cultivation to selection and packaging.
The main marketer is the Udapa cooperative, which in mid-April closed the Álava potato marketing campaign with the Eusko Label and Euskal Baserri seal.
The cooperative realized that it was last September when the cooperative began to serve its main customers these two references, and during these seven and a half months it has sold more than 8.1 million kilos of this certified potatoes. “Once again we are very satisfied with this year’s marketing campaign, since consumers perceive the Álava potato as a quality product, and thanks to the diversification of customers that we have, we are increasingly conquering the palates of more people who live outside the Basque Country “, said Jesús Moreno, commercial director of the cooperative.