First PEFC-certified chestnuts enter the Spanish market

The "Bierzo Chestnut' becomes the first chestnut marketed under the PEFC label in Spain: an achievement that certifies its sustainable origin and strengthens a model experience for forest owners.

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Photo: Cesefor

The Castilla y León Wood & Forest Services Center (Cesefor) has succeeded in putting the first PEFC-certified chestnuts on the Spanish market. This adds another label of quality to this brand, certifying the sustainable origin of the product, for the chestnuts which are also marketed under the ‘Bierzo Chestnut’ Guarantee label.

The chestnuts were presented for the first time at Biocastanea 2018, the 9th Bierzo Chestnut Fair held last autumn. Visitors had the opportunity to buy them in 5kg bags, a format aimed firmly at the end consumer. The chestnuts originate from the PEFC Spain-certified chestnut orchard in the municipality of Corullón (in the county of El Bierzo, province of León) which gained PEFC status in 2015, the first chestnut orchard in Spain to do so. The orchard is part of a private property whose management was entrusted to Cesefor by the Mesa del Castaño del Bierzo with the aim of carrying out research, innovation and promotion of chestnuts in the Bierzo region.

Showing the way from forest to plate

Cesefor expects that the certification of these chestnuts will become a “model experience” to show other forest owners the natural step “from the forest to the plate”. Cesefor has already initiated a round of contacts for advice and training to other associations of owners, with a view to their adherence to the Regional Forest Certification and, subsequently, chestnut certification.

Also mushrooms & truffles

Related to other NWFPs, Cesefor also manages the quality brand ‘Setas de Castilla y León’, a quality brand for wild mushrooms produced in the region’s forests. This label, in addition to certifying the traceability of the product, adds value for product commercialisation (either fresh or processed). Among other activities, Cesefor deals with the promotion of ‘Setas de Castilla y León’ in different professional fairs, mainly in those that are a reference for restaurateurs and the food sector, but also in others aimed at the end consumer.

With this accumulated experience, the government of the province of Soria has recently called Cesefor to a meeting with agents in the sector to discuss the possibility of creating a quality brand for the black truffle of Soria.