SUPERMARKETS and restaurants in Ronda will see a welcome addition this spring thanks to a successful experimental fruit harvest.
Pitaya, aka dragon fruit, has been harvested on a young farmer’s plot for the first time after a year of tentative growth.
Pedro Ductor, the son of a farming family, began growing the plants in Ronda last year as part of an experiment to introduce the fruit to Spain.
Knowing the climate may not be as temperate as the fruit’s native South America, he constructed a greenhouse and began cultivating the cactus like plants.
Over the past 12 months, the plants flourished, and last week provided the young farmer his first crop of the exotic fruit.
In total, Ductor estimates that he will be able to provide around 400 kilograms of dragon fruits to local green grocers and restaurants this season, a feat that has been welcomed by local industries.
Setting his sights on next summer’s crop, Ductor has begun the pollination process and hopes to harvest around 2-3,000 kilograms which will enable him to introduce the crop into local supermarkets.
Pitayas, or dragon fruits, are well known for their incredible health benefits, rich in vitamins B, C and E and contain metabolism stimulants to help control weight gain.
Dragon fruits are also high in Tyramine, a chemical that helps activate the body to turn fat and sugar deposits into energy, making them very popular in weight loss programs and athletic diets.
Aware of the benefits, Ductor has set up a Facebook page to promote the fruit and to show off recipes including desserts, smoothies and pastries that people can try at home.
“We hope that people turn their heads towards the huge benefits of pitayas and we are able to continue to provide a good quality and healthy harvest year on year,” said Ductor.
Pitayas are most commonly found in the central and southern American regions of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and has recently been introduced into southeast Asia and Australia.