How the rain in Spain could thwart your New Year diet plan

It’s way too early to even be thinking about the post-Christmas diet plan but farmers are already warning that we are facing a shortage of healthy veg.

How the rain in Spain could thwart your New Year diet plan
Salad crops have been destroyed in the floods. Photo: Shin--K / Flickr

The torrential rain that hit southern Spain over the last week has caused terrible damage to the greenhouses and fields that provide an estimated 80 percent of Europe’s fresh produce during the winter months.

Murcia recorded the heaviest rainfall for 30 years and caused damage to agricultural areas estimated at over €50 million.

The Campo de Cartagena suffered devastation across some 50,000 hectares of farmland, according to the regional agricultural minister who visited the area on Thursday.

Over the winter months the region exports millions of euros worth of veg and salad crops to supermarkets across Europe, being the main provider of cauliflower, courgettes, lettuce, spinach and tomatoes.

But newly planted stock has been wiped out in the floods, while more mature crops that survived the torrential rain are now rotting in the water-logged fields susceptible fungal infections and mildew.

The flooding has also left producers unable to harvest for several days as the ground is so saturated that it’s not safe for vehicles.

 A spokesman told The Grocer: “These have been among the worst downpours we have seen since these farms were established in the 1980s.”

“The rainfall has been so intense that the ground is saturated and there is nowhere for the excess water to go.

“It has become difficult to pick the crops or bring trailers in that are already out in the fields because the soil is too wet.”

Andy Weir, head of marketing for fruit and vegetable wholesaler Reynolds.  said: “Any adverse weather conditions come January would be particularly tricky, as many people turn to healthier eating following the Christmas period.

“Demand for salad ingredients traditionally increases.”

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Did Spain make Coca-Cola before the US?

Could Kola-Coca, the drink produced in a small Valencian village, have been the inspiration for the world-famous soft drink, Coca-Cola?

Did Spain make Coca-Cola before the US?

Coca-Cola, or coke as it is often referred to, has become one of the most popular drinks around the world since it was invented in 1886 in the United States. It has also become the drink most synonymous with American culture and the secret formula has been patented there too. 

Despite this, in the small town of Aielo de Malferit almost 140 years ago, three partners, Enrique Ortiz, Ricardo Sanz and Bautista Aparici, set up a distillery, which later went on to supply drinks to Queen María Cristina, who was married to King Alfonso XII, and the rest of the royal household. 

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Among the drinks that they created, the most popular by far was the ‘Jarabe Superior de Kola-Coca‘. It was made from kola nuts and coca leaves from Peru, and was dubbed by locals as ‘Heavenly Anise’.

The drink became so successful and popular that in 1885, one of the three founders, Bautista Aparici, travelled to the US to promote it and present the product to consumers in Philadelphia. 

He then returned to Spain, but a year later in 1886 in Atlanta, the pharmacist John Stith Pemberton invented the famous Coca-Cola. Sound familiar?

Whether this was a coincidence or not is open to interpretation, but what is even more interesting, other than the similar name, is that the drink contained basically the same ingredients as the Spanish Kola-Coca too. 

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When it was first created, the basic ingredients of Coca-Cola were just coca leaves, cola nuts and soda water, the same recipe that was made in Aielo in Valencia, except, they used cold water from the region, instead of soda water.

While Coca-Cola went from strength to strength and finally achieved world domination, the distillery in Valencia went on to produce other drinks. 

Then in the mid-1950s, Kola-Coca disappeared from sale when it is said, that representatives from the Coca-Cola company visited the Aielo factory to buy the patent for the ‘heavenly anise’ drink. 

Although there is no material evidence of this patent ever exchanging hands, it’s interesting to think the inspiration for this most American of drinks could have originated in a small village in Spain.