Strawberry tree and its fruit need a strong and structured industry, which includes all the actors of the value chain, so that it can definitely assert itself in the regional and national context as a promising future in which it is worth investing and where there is a return for the entrepreneurs involved.
This was one of the main notes of the initiative “Medronho Talks”, which took place on December 19th, integrated in the program of the Christmas Flavors Market in Proença-a-Nova, and counted with the presence of João Lobo, Mayor, Hélio Loureiro, gastronome, Carlos Fonseca, from ForestWISE – Collaborative Laboratory for the Integrated Management of Forest and Fire, Rui Lopes, nutritionist, researcher and entrepreneur, and João Dias, agronomist engineer.
From an environmental point of view, Carlos Fonseca pointed out the versatility of the strawberry tree, an autochthonous, native bush species – “very much our own” and very resilient: “after a fire, the strawberry tree is one of the first species to regenerate”. There are very successful experiences of plantations of strawberry trees and cork oaks – and the mutual benefits between the two species are being studied at Coimbra’s School of Agriculture. “We won’t be able to differentiate the use of this fruit if there isn’t, in fact, associated knowledge and, contrary to what we may think, there are many institutions developing scientific research applied to strawberry trees and arbutus trees”. In his perspective, this sector is going through a crucial moment that may position the country as “the great strawberry tree producer worldwide”, and it is necessary to continue to take decisive steps, such as the one taken a few years ago to create the first ordered plantations, in a process driven by the Pinhal Interior.