Espárrago de Huétor-Tájar PGI
Asparagus obtained from green-purple spears, tender, healthy and clean, from Asparagus officinalis L. plants, genetically tetraploid subspecies, similar to the wild green asparagus which is common to the Mediterranean. The vegetables come from select varieties indigenous to the area.
The asparagus has a tender, meaty and firm texture, as well as a delicate bitter-sweet taste and a deep aroma, reminiscent of wild green asparagus.
Asparagus may be destined for fresh or canned consumption. Those for fresh consumption should be whole, with a fresh appearance and aroma, healthy, free from any bruising or disease, clean and with no external humidity apart from that released from the base of the stalk, and placed in the containers with the bottom slightly wet. Asparagus within the same bunch may vary in color from green to purple.
Of particular importance in terms of morphological characteristics is the purple, bronze-purple, bronze, green-purple or green color of the spear. The shoots are thin (4-12 mm (0.1 – 0.5 in)) and the head is pointed or tapered, with a wider diameter than the rest of the shoot. The spears have a small spur under the scales. The length of the spears varies between 20 and 27 cm (7.9 - 10.6 in), and the minimum diameter should be four millimeters (0.15 in) in both categories, and the size should be between four and ten millimeters (0.15 – 0.39 in), or ten millimeters and more. The canned asparagus is simply prepared in brine. These cans come in “short” (11cm (4.3 in)) and “full” (15cm (5.9 in)) formats, with two asparagus diameter options: “thin” (asparagus diameter less than 9mm (0.4 in)) and “medium” (asparagus diameter between 9 and 13mm (0.4 and 0.5 in)).
Production / Processing method
The cultivation characteristics which involve human input are, on the one hand, obtaining the vegetable material and on the other, the specific techniques carried out in already established plantations. With regards to the first issue, obtaining the material involves selecting the parent plants and planting the nursery. Selection of the parent plants is a fundamental part of the process if good quality plants are to be obtained. It involves finding select plants (male and female) and isolating the specimens found so that germination can be controlled. This process is carried out in spring, in plots that are separated from one another by at least one kilometer (0.62 miles) in order to avoid unwanted cross-germination. Once germinated, the female plants are protected with a mesh to make sure that no insects can enter, which may re-pollinate the plants.
Plantation frames are a characteristic specific to the native variety of Huétor-Tájar as it is has great longevity. They are planted in wider frames at a distance between the rows that ranges from 1.4 and 1.6m (4.6 and 5.24 ft), and a distance within the rows between 50 and 60cm (1.6 – 1.9 ft). The product enters into production more slowly than other varieties, and normally takes two years.
During cultivation, the ridging technique is important for obtaining high quality. It consists of progressively earthing up the plantation over the course of many years. By doing this you avoid a drop in size as well as a tendency for the asparagus to become tall and stringy.
Harvesting takes place on a daily basis, including on public holidays, in the early morning to avoid the product being exposed to peak hours of sunshine. Within the same plot an initial selection is performed to discard open, misshapen and disease-infested vegetables.
During the commercialization process for fresh asparagus, the product is handled manually on conveyor belts, with the asparagus being classified by size and into Extra or Primera categories. The asparagus are put into 0.5, 1 or 2 kilo (1.1, 2.2 or 4.4 lbs) homogenous bunches and placed in boxes.
Geography / Relief and climate
The production area is located in the west of the natural region of the Vega de Granada (Andalusia), which is fertilized from the sedimentary activity of the River Genil as it flows through the Granada Depression. Cultivation takes place at altitudes ranging from 450 to 650m (1,476 to 2,132 ft).
The soils of the production area have ferrous-clay and sandy ferrous-clay textures and, to a lesser extent, sandy ferrous and silt loam textures. Their low phosphorous content and high magnesium content promotes strong pigmentation in the spears, producing deep green stems and purplish tips. The high potassium content of the soil has a favorable influence on the quality of the spear, and avoids stringiness.
The climate is Mediterranean with regard to rainfall and Continental with regard to temperatures. The average annual rainfall is in the order of 350 mm (13.8 ft), and the average temperature in the winter is 7ºC and 26ºC (44.6 and 78.8 ºF) in the summer.
The area is crossed from east to west by the River Genil and by various tributaries, in the south, the River Cacín, the Arroyo de Salar and the River Frío, and in the north, the Arroyo de Milanos, the Arroyo de Tocón and Alomares.
Consejo Regulador de la IGP Espárrago de Huétor-Tájar
Ctra. De La Estación, s/n
18360 Huétor–Tájar (Granada)
Tel: (+34) 958 333 443
- Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
- Regulatory Council, Espárrago de Huétor-Tájar PGI
Of particular importance in terms of morphological characteristics is the purple, bronze-purple, bronze, green-purple or green color of the spear.