Coliflor de Calahorra
The cauliflowers covered by the IGP 'Coliflor de Calahorra' are inflorescences of Brassica oleracea L. Convar. Botrytis (L.) Alef var. Botrytis, grown from hybrid varieties Nautilus, Castelgrand, Arbond, Pierrot, Armetta, Fargo, Belot, Scaler, Mayfair, Daydrean, Arthur, RS- 91013, Dunkl, Fortrose, Jerome, Matra, Tucson, Aviso, Cafano, Admirable, Imola, Serrano, Nomad, Midar, 5090, Kerjo, Eclipse, Kimball, Astral, Regata, RS-84299, Arven and Astoria, belonging to the 'Extra' and 'I' classes, to be supplied fresh to the consumer, cauliflowers for industrial processing being excluded. The differentiating characteristics of the cauliflowers covered by this Geographical Indication are freshness, firmness, colour and presentation â they may not be grainy and must have a firmness index higher than 0.5.
Most of the vegetative material which exists on the market of the Autonomous Community of La Rioja is hybrid, since this ensures better quality, greater uniformity, resistance to disease, higher yields and greater adaptability. The appropriate soil and climatic conditions of the protected area allow a combination of varieties in different cycles, resulting in staggered production and higher prices thanks to lower supply and greater demand.
Varieties, subjected to previous trials and found to be within the quality parameters required, may be added each year subject to an application by the AsociaciÃ³n Profesional de Productores y Comercializadores de Coliflor, a favourable technical report from the ICAR and final approval by the Consejo de CoordinaciÃ³n.
The production area corresponds to that for preserving, preparing and packaging in order to maintain quality and ensure traceability and inspection. It comprises the following municipalities belonging to the district of Rioja Baja: Aguilar de río Alhama, Aldeanueva de Ebro, Alfaro, Arnedo, Autol, Calahorra, Cervera de río Alhama, PradejÃ³n, Quel and RincÃ³n de Soto, and the municipality of Alcanadre situated in Rioja Media, the delimitation of the area being based on weather, soil and cultivation considerations.
Proof of origin:
Cauliflower growers and packaging and marketing plants wishing to be covered by the Geographical Indication have to be listed in the relevant Registers and produce cauliflowers belonging to the hybrid varieties recommended for each marketing year by the technical staff of the AsociaciÃ³n Profesional de Productores y Comercializadores de Coliflor.
Growers and packaging and marketing plants will undergo their own checks carried out by the Association's technical staff to verify that they comply with the specification. In order to verify objectively and impartially that cauliflowers with the indication meet the requirements in the Regulation and specification, ICAR (Quality Institute of La Rioja) will carry out external checks. If these checks are satisfactory, ICAR will certify the product.
Analysis of the samples taken to check on the parameters which the inspection bodies require is carried out exclusively in laboratories approved by EN-45001.
Each grower, packaging and marketing plant will apply to the Association to be registered in the inspection plan (Plan de Control), and ICAR will carry out a special audit (auditorÃa registro). If the requirements are met, the interested party is entered in the relevant register of the Association, which will undertake to keep it up to date. ICAR then draws up an audit plan (Plan de auditorÃa) as a result of which a report will be issued to be validated by the Association. If the decision is favourable, product certification is granted, thereby ensuring that only those cauliflowers passing all the checks carried out throughout the process will be marketed with the guarantee of origin.
The Coordination Council, made up of representatives of the Association and of the Government of the Rioja Ministry of Agriculture and Economic Development, will ensure that the Association acts in an impartial way.
Traceability of the product is guaranteed by identification at each of the production, packaging, preparation, preservation and marketing stages.
The product labels will be numbered so that it will be possible to verify that the number of labels used tallies with the number of certified products dispatched, thereby preventing ineligible cauliflowers from being labelled with the logo of the designation.
The factors proving that the cauliflowers originate from the geographical area described are:
â The characteristics of the cauliflower
â Inspection and certification, guaranteeing traceability and origin
Preparation, packaging and preservation will take place in the designated geographical area and in the plants listed in the Registers in order to safeguard quality and guarantee traceability and inspection.
Method of production:
Planting takes place when the plant has two to four true leaves. The density is 0.40 - 0.80 m in the case of early varieties and 0.40 - 0.90 m in that of later varieties. They are then watered to ensure good rooting.
Soil management, irrigation and pest and disease control use the techniques and applications most appropriate at the time.
Harvesting takes place by hand, with the greatest care and speed when the inflorescences are fully formed and covered by the inner leaves. They are selected by size and degree of firmness to ensure optimal preservation and quality. As many runs as necessary are undertaken on each plot, and no more than 12 hours may elapse between harvesting and placing in store.
Preparation before placing in store is carried out in the field and entails cleaning, removal of leaves, classification and packaging. Once in store the cauliflowers are chilled to remove âfield heatâ. This takes place in the designated geographical area and in the plants listed in the Registers in order to safeguard quality and guarantee traceability and inspection.
They are packed in single-layer boxes so that they cannot move. Boxes are uniform as regards origin, variety, quality, colour and size. Packing takes place in the designated geographical area and in the plants listed in the Registers in order to safeguard quality and guarantee traceability and inspection.
The cauliflowers are kept in cold stores at a low temperature (not below zero) and high relative humidity. They must be kept apart from other vegetables and fruit. This takes place in the designated geographical area and in the plants listed in the Registers, in order to safeguard quality and guarantee traceability and inspection.
Cauliflowers have been grown in Calahorra since time immemorial and their quality has always been recognised, as can be seen from Madoz's 1846 Diccionario GeogrÃ¡fico-EstadÃstico- HistÃ³rico de EspaÃ±a, where page 59 of the volume on La Rioja concerning Calahorra notes that its main products are oil, wine and cereals; it also grows good vegetables, potatoes and fruit; its cherries and cauliflowers are very famous.
Over the last 30 years cauliflowers from La Rioja have occupied a privileged position on Spanish markets and are one of the crops which have maintained a consistent level of area and production, in both cases the highest in Spain, at 25 %. La Rioja is also the main region of Spain for the marketing of cauliflowers and acts as a reference market for the setting of cauliflower prices in other regions.
Cauliflowers are a crop highly influenced by climatic factors, requiring mild temperatures and high relative humidity if they are to develop to their best.
The area of production of La Rioja cauliflowers enjoys long summers, mild winters sheltered from strong winds by the fact that the valley lies between mountains, and relatively high humidity owing to the influence of the Ebro and Cidacos rivers.
The mild temperatures without sharp changes in summer, when the plants are young, mean that they develop good root systems. In autumn and winter the first flowers appear and than the heart forms.
As temperatures fall gradually, the cauliflower develops slowly, resulting in its being firm and white â the features which determine its quality and reputation.
Soils in the region are alluvial, deep, rich and well-drained, with a pH between 5.5 and 8.2, organic matter levels over 1.2 %, phosphorus content of 20-30 ppm, potassium content of 200-250 ppm and adequate lime and sulphur. These characteristics are ideal for cauliflowers, which find the nutrients they require to achieve a rate of growth directly determining their quality.
Human factors: the local farmers have grown cauliflowers since the dawn of time and know that the most delicate phase is harvesting, so they pay special attention to cutting the plants at the best time, when the cauliflowers are of the right size, firmness and quality.
Another important factor is the level of partnerships in the area, linked with a commercial structure of warehouses, cooperatives and producers' organisations, all with a great deal of experience and market knowledge, which is the best way of concentrating supply, promoting quality and reducing seasonality, so considerably increasing the value of the product.
The reputation of cauliflowers produced in La Rioja is due to their high quality, thanks to soil and climate conditions which are ideal for this crop and the extensive knowledge which farmers in the area have of it.
Reference: The European Commission