Day 12: Sunaran and Cordoba

Today, we drove about an hour out of Cordoba to visit a citrus cooperative. This cooperative, named Sunaran was established in 1995 and is made up of 95 member citrus growers. The citrus producers are located alongside the Valley of Guadalquivir, a unique place with wonderful climate conditions and fertile lands that make it possible to produce high quality fruit.

Sunaran’s citrus production has a great variety of products including navel oranges, clementines, white citrus fruits and grapefruit, exceeding 50,000 tons in a year. The facility we visited does all the packing, processing and distribution for their members over six months from October to June and hires up to 250 employees during its peak production times.

Outside of its local Spanish markets, the majority of its fresh whole fruit exports go to the Netherlands, with additional distribution to Korea, China, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia and Canada. The fruits go to supermarkets and hotels in these countries. Exports are somewhat limited by regulations on sugar content in some countries, meaning that if the oranges aren’t as sweet as a country expects, they will be rejected.

They customize their packaging according to customer specifications. While Sunaran does have their own brand, some customers choose to customize their packages with their brand. Speaking of packaging, Sunaran has the ability, equipment and the labor to package citrus in one of three ways: netted bags, boxes, or bulk packaging.


While on the tour, we saw fruits being separated by size and appearance. Anything that did not meet quality standards is sent to be made into juice or animal feed.

After our visit, the group traveled back to Cordoba to enjoy an afternoon exploring the historic city center for a couple hours before catching a high-speed Ave train to Madrid.