Valencian bean
is one of the ingredients that cannot be missing in the recipe of an authentic paella. This legume is a jewel and the incredible thing is that despite its quality and nutritional value, it was close to disappearing. Fortunately, in recent years it has recovered its energy thanks to the efforts of local producers, and we are going to tell you about this beautiful story in this article.

At Peris we have been supporting the recovery of the Valencian locust bean since 2014 because its quality is unmatched. If we compare the Valencian with the one found massively in supermarkets and whose origin is Peru, the differences are enormous. The native Valencian locust bean has a thin, barely perceptible skin and a soft, buttery interior, as opposed to the thicker skin and sandy pulp of locust beans from other origins.

At Peris we had been witnessing the decline of this crop for some time because farmers preferred to dedicate themselves to other more profitable products, since the price offered by the market for this high quality locust bean did not even cover their expenses. We thought we could be part of the change, since at Peris we only sell top quality fruits and vegetables, and we understand that this quality has a price that is fair to pay.

Support for local Valencian locust bean producers

So we decided to take the plunge and support the activity of local producers by buying from them their locust bean harvest. Over the years, this group of farmers has grown, and today we already have 10 suppliers of Valencian locust beans, and we wish there were more! Because we currently have a demand for Valencian locust beans that is higher than the supply.

Thanks to this collaboration with farmers in our environment, most of them from the Huerta de Valencia,
we have contributed to the recovery of 7,500 kilos of dried garrofón
of the three varieties recognized by the Asociación de Productores de Garrofón Valenciano: garrofón pintat, garrofón ull de perdiu and garrofón de la cella.

From abandoning the crop to increasing locust bean production

Several local producers have increased the volume of production of Valencian locust beans thanks to the collaboration with our company. This is the case of Javier Orts Molins, from Verdures Gorrito, S.L., a young second generation farmer who a few years ago had to stop growing locust beans because he could not find a market.

“Peris asked us to resume the cultivation of locust beans and we did it, because having a company of this level assures you of support, and that what you are planting will have an outlet. In fact, for next year I plan to increase the volume of the crop”. Javier recognizes that it is not easy to find this kind of support in the sector, since “price is usually given priority over product quality”.

The case of the producer Rosa Samper is different, she had been working with Peris for 20 years in the production of spring onions, but she had never dedicated herself to locust beans. “When Peris suggested to me that I should plant garrafón, I didn’t hesitate, I had some fields that I could dedicate to the crop and I was sure that they were going to buy my production. Now I am already considering increasing the kilos and, beyond the business vision, I like to feel that I am contributing to this crop not being lost”, Rosa comments.

Valencian locust bean exports to Europe

The Valencian locust bean that we commercialize in Peris
has managed to cross borders and nowadays its demand comes even from England, Switzerland and Arab Emirates. However, filling these orders is only possible in years of good production, which makes it an even more select and desirable product.

Productivity is usually associated with the complexity of its cultivation, since it is a product that is very sensitive to the weather, especially to heat waves that occur during the summer and directly affect the flower, thus preventing the fruit from thriving.

Research on the germination and cultivation of locust beans

Every season, our technicians select and save a percentage of grains to be used in next year’s plantations. These seeds, which are properly stored at controlled temperatures, are delivered at the time of sowing to the farmers with whom we collaborate so that they can proceed with their cultivation.

This phase is complemented by germination studies to determine the optimum storage conditions, the success rate of which is currently 96%. This controlled procedure helps the survival of these traditional varieties and the constant improvement of their fruit and organoleptic qualities, because the selection is made only from the best formed and highest quality seeds.

Working with seeds of traditional varieties is not new to us. In fact, at Vicente Peris we have been
more than 20 years working successfully in the recovery of traditional varieties of carruecano, peanut and roteña valenciana pumpkins, a product of which we are specialists and which are also of exceptional quality.
We are specialists in these products, which are also of exceptional quality.