Strawberries from the Vrgorac area in the Dalmatian Hinterland in southern Croatia are renowned for being the best in the country.
Strawberry picking season began ten days ago in Vrgorac and the first batches have already hit stands around the country. This year 600 tonnes of high quality strawberries can be expected from local fields.
“We have good weather conditions and will produce a standard quality. The yield will be high and of good quality for almost all producers however 15 family farms affected by last year’s floods in Kokorići will not have any yield this year because the floods destroyed their greenhouse and crops,” said Vrgorac strawberry association president Milan Franić.
So what makes Vrgorac strawberries so good?
The secret to the quality of Vrgorac strawberries lies in a number of factors, local producers say.
The microclimate, abundance of sunshine, the water source, and the fertile karst fields all help make them so sweet.
The big differences between day and night temperatures, means they get a lot of sugar during the day and that is not lost from the strawberries at night because it gets cold.
Various studies have shown that the composition of the soil in Croatia is excellent for growing.
How to recognise Vrgorac strawberries?
The name and logo of Vrgorac strawberries has been protected at the Institute for Intellectual Property. The City of Vrgorac awarded the Vrgorac Quality Label to its family farms that meet the required criteria with the aim of clearly differentiating products from Vrgorac from the competition, raising and maintaining the quality of these products and encouraging their sale on the local, regional and national market.
Vrgorac strawberries must be sold in a blue punnet with the label “vrgoračka jagoda” (Vrgorac strawberry) on it.
Every producer has the same punnet and no one can sell other strawberries under that label.
In the Vrgorac area there are about 450 family farms that produce tonnes of strawberries, peaches, and nectarines, plums, pears, apples, potatoes and garlic, as much as 85 percent of table grapes come from Vrgorac, so in addition to strawberries that first received this label, the Vrgorac Quality Label also goes to peaches, nectarines, honey, wine, and grapes.