Yaiza Socorro - Photographer

Strawberries from Valsequillo to captivate the senses

Interview by @loretosocorro

In "El Roque de Valsequillo" and behind some metal gates we discover a red and green orchard under the intense blue of the Valsequillense sky. 

Francisco Jiménez is a creative and restless man who shows us the “Fresas de Valsequillo” farm, a family business owned by his partner Lina Martel Hernández, who has more than forty years of experience and is a second generation. This succulent fruit is marketed under three brands: "Strawberries Valsequillo", "Solina" and "Strawberries Chacho".

Why are there open cut strawberries and other covered Francisco?

"Some are outdoors even for being a new farm. These lands were abandoned and now… look at how beautiful it is!”

Francisco speaks to us from the entrance ramp of the farm with knowledge and fragrant passion.

"This piece of land is as big as three football fields. Here, at the access, visitors will be received. The big buses arrive well.”

What kind of visits are planned for the plantation?

"All types. Tourist excursions, schools… When they arrive they can see the winery, the greenhouses… Learn about the cultivation process and take a tub of strawberries.”


How many varieties of strawberries are grown here?

“Four are grown varieties of the almost eleven that exist: Camino Real, Cabrillo, Diamante and Albion”.

Do you also plant strawberries?

"The same bush gives strawberry and strawberry, there is no difference. Do you see these flowers? Each flower is a strawberry. Some fruits are bigger than others, but they all come from the same plant.”

Are these organic strawberries?

"Is it so in zero residue. They work with organic products and, it is true that they are sulfated, but then they wait for four days to go by to pick the strawberries.”

We walk between the grills loaded with leaves that are like large green gold coins. Why do these plants grow so bulky?

"These sprouted vigorously. They are from last year and were trimmed flush, so they gained strength. If they are well cared for, they last up to three years.”


What is the average productivity of these bushes?

"Is big. One plant bears strawberries after two months and is setting fruit permanently; Apart from this, they also produce suckers that are transplanted into the holes and thus there are always new plants, which give more fruit and more cuttings.”

¿When is the fruit harvested?

"When the strawberry is completely red, with a bright color. Strawberries do not ripen after picking like other fruits. If you take it green, it stays that way.”

What is the scariest plague?

«The aphid, today has been seen around here. In general, some bichillo is used to eat those who harm.»

¿When does the strawberry season start and end?

"It goes from January to June. On those dates it is collected, packed and distributed: in hypermarkets, markets such as the agricultural one in Guía or San Mateo. You attend fairs too”


Stalls in markets and fairs have a touch that attracts attention.

"When I assemble them, I always fix the stalls to contribute something more. Each time I design them with something different. I recently put a motor with a circuit that took the wine directly to the glass. It's like an exhibition and I enjoy coming up with it."

How was the harvest organized in «Fresas de Valsequillo» during confinement?

"He planted much less because there was no way out, so as not to have to shoot. The plants cost their money and all the hotels and restaurants were closed and house-to-house distribution was not feasible.”

Early humans ate wild strawberries as early as the Stone Age. The strawberry evolved and is a mixture of European and American plants. They have grown in size and flavor until reaching the Canary Islands in the mid-70s of the last century and in Valsequillo they found the ideal environment.

"In Gran Canaria, strawberries do not grow as well as here. In Gáldar it was tried but it did not come out with the same force "

And it is that the hours of sunshine that Valsequillo has in spring and the variation in temperatures throughout the day, make the landscape of this municipality a feast for the eyes. White flowers of these antioxidant fruits, which are from the rose family. 


“Fresquillo” wine is another product you get from strawberries, how did it come about?

“By use you could say. Before, strawberries were picked and those that overripe were discarded, but now nothing is spoiled. Jam, granita and also strawberry liqueur, Indian prickly pear wine and strawberry wine are made.

How is strawberry wine or Indian prickly pear wine made?

"Like any wine, the fruit is crushed, the water is removed and it is mixed with the yeasts, sugars, sulphates and it rests in the barrel. Each wine carries only its fruit. There are plans to make grape wine as well, from another nearby farm with vines.”

Inside the winery is the machine room for drip irrigation, the pressing area and the winemaking area.

"Strawberry wine cannot be made now because there is a lot of demand for fresh fruit and it is still in full production, so it is made in the middle of the season, starting in March or so.”

Strawberries are a gift for the eyes, also for the smell and especially for the taste. Every year we will take the road to Valsequillo, wanting natural and fresh flavors after the Christmas holidays, to enjoy the beauty of the landscape with this fruit that reigns supreme on Canarian tables.

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September 2023

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