Fruits and vegetables are essential foodstuffs needed to be eaten in a daily life, as they provide a great number of significant nutrients for the proper functioning of the body.
Fruits and vegetables are fundamental products in our diet and one of the pillars of the commonly named Mediterranean Diet, based on the consumption of vegetables (fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts and cereals), extra virgin olive oil, fish and wine.
The daily consumption of a sufficient quantity of plant products along with a well-balanced diet helps to avoid severe illnesses such as heart disease, cardiovascular accidents, diabetes and cancer, as well as deficiencies in important micronutrients and vitamins.
Vitamins, minerals and other components of fruits and vegetables are essential for human health. For example, dietary fibre contributes to the digestive transit and reduces blood cholesterol levels; vitamins and minerals help maintain good health and acceptable levels of well-being; and phytochemicals, such as the compounds that give tomatoes and carrots their bright colours, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Global consumption of fruits and vegetables is well below 400 grams per person per day. This is because the consumption of cereals and pulses has decreased over the past 50 years at the same time that vegetable oils, sugar and meat have increased, while fruits and vegetables have barely increased. It is estimated that people worldwide consume only from 20 to 50 per cent of the recommended minimum amount of these groceries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks low fruit and vegetable consumption sixth among the 20 risk factors to which it attributes human mortality, immediately after more well-known ones such as tobacco and cholesterol.
Almería is a land of vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, courgettes, aubergines, melons and watermelons.
In Granada, especially in the vegas (the plains), vegetables such as asparagus triguero, artichokes, onions, lettuce and cherry tomatoes are grown. The coast of Granada and Málaga is famous for its subtropical crops: cherimoyas and avocados. In Málaga, lemons and raisin grapes also stand out.
Huelva provides us with strawberries (this province is the second largest production centre in the world, behind California), mandarins and chestnuts. Sevilla is the main Andalusian producer of citrus fruits, peaches and tomatoes for the industry, and in Cordoba, the region of Campiña Baja is noted for the production of oranges.
However, the greatest examples due to their link to origin and singularity are the Protected Designation of Origin ‘‘Chirimoya de la Costa Tropical de Granada-Málaga’, the Protected Geographical Indication ‘Espárrago de Huétor-Tájar’ and the Protected Geographical Indication ‘Tomate La Cañada’, in Almería.
Certified quality in their labels
One of the key factors of the success of this sector in Andalusia is the extraordinary quality of its products. In the past years, a great effort has been made to guarantee this quality through various certification systems, such as controlled production, and other private systems like organic farming or integrated production.