Foods from Spain is set to launch this year's initiative to promote Spanish Picota cherries, which includes in-store, trade and consumer ads, as well as on-pack promotions and prizes at www.winwithspain.co.uk.

Promotional activity will run throughout the season, which exporters expect to be two weeks longer than in 2005, after a good winter with adequate rainfall and enough chill time.

The first Picota harvest was forecast to begin yesterday, with the first fruit arriving on shelf on Monday.

Sizes of Picota cherries may be slightly up on last year, at 21-23mm and 24-26mm, while favourable growing conditions combined with some increases in production capacity mean that similar crop volumes to last season's are expected, reaching about 5,000 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the first California Bing cherries have arrived in the UK. The first three weeks of this month will make up the bulk of the season.