Tunisian pomegranates with sweeter and softer seeds

Now is the season in which Chinese pomegranates enter the market, but because they aren’t easily peeled and their seeds are both plentiful and hard, the pomegranates were instantly placed on the list of ‘niche fruit’ and the market demand has become extremely limited.
In the past few years, pomegranates from Tunisia seem to have untied the shackles of the pomegranate products, which have been there for many years. Tunisian pomegranates do not only contain softer seeds and more juice, but the edibility rate can reach peaks up to 90%. Moreover, with their large sizes and thin peels and overall appearance attracts people and is slowly changing the fruit into a “mainstream fruit’ again.
“At the moment, Chinese plantations of Tunisian pomegranates with soft seeds are mainly concentrated in Sichuan and Henan. Among these, the belt around Heyin county in Xingyang city of Henan province is the place of origin of these pomegranates. Every year it produces a large quantity of Tunisian pomegranates. In comparison to other producing locations, the seeds are definitely softer and their overall edibility rate is higher,” explains mister Zhang from the plantation of Tunisian pomegranates in Xingyang, Henan.
“The history of the pomegranate plantation in Heyin traces back to the Han dynasty. Because of the geographical environment and because of a climate suitable for growing pomegranates, pomegranates from Xingyang became a famous and well-selling product a long time ago, due to their peel colour, abundance of seeds, nice taste and small amount of residue. In 1986, Tunisia and China signed an agreement in which it was agreed that 6 Tunisian pomegranate tree sprouts were to be sent. This is the origin of Tunisian pomegranates in the region of Heyin, and it is also the very beginning of the cultivation of Tunisian pomegranates in entirety of China,” says mister Su.
Pomegranate orchard in the Heyin region
“After more than 10 years of breeding, the Tunisian pomegranates gradually grew accustomed to the growing environment in China. They demonstrated a few unique characteristics: a large size, a rosy surface, plenty of seeds that were soft and edible that made them very edible for children and elderly. They also helped  digestion. For all these reasons they were welcomed in markets everywhere, and more and more pomegranate producers wanted to start growing the variety too. However, after so many years of sowing, pomegranates still have the softest seeds and are still the most edible amongst all the pomegranate sorts, and their sugar level can reach up to 17.2, making them extremely tasty.”
Tunisian pomegranate
“Although the advantages of the Tunisian pomegranates in Heyin county are very visible, the market position and brand name is still less solid in the industry than those of other producers. Therefore the whole industry has remained in a stage of infancy and fruit farmers receive little added value from their products. As new farmers born during the 90’s, we want to change this by our own efforts and while we improve the living conditions for fruit farmers, we want to make a brand out of the Heyin Tunisian pomegranates and let more Chinese consumers – or even foreign customers – taste our very special fruit.”
Pomegranate orchard
“We currently have 3,333 hectares of Tunisian pomegranates. This year is the first time we have experienced a bumper harvest, as we had a total output of approximately 50,000 kilogram. Due to the geographical position, Tunisian pomegranates in Heyin ripen a little later than those in Sichuan, so usually we can begin picking them one week after autumn. This year, for example, our pomegranate market entry collided with mid-autumn festival, so we had a good market price.”
“In order to prolong the supply time of our products, we have built our own cooling warehouses which we use to preserve our pomegrantes so we can maintain a guaranteed supply for when spring comes. In the following months, and even in the following seasons, we will place the emphasis of our sales in brand creation, based on the good quality of our pomegranates. We also want to enter high end markets and promote cultivation through markets and improve the amount of pomegranates available. This is all in order to prepare ourselves to start exporting our pomegranates in the future. Of course, we also warmly welcome everybody from everywhere to learn more about our products, and maybe provide us with some feedback so we can jointly promote the development of pomegranates from Heyin.”
Fresh Plaza

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