Tudela Vegetables: Are they the best vegetables of Spain?

 

Mixed seasonal vegetables from the Tudela gardens —Artichokes, Swiss chard, cardoon, borage—

 

It is very difficult to talk about Tudela without mentioning its vegetables, and we couldn’t talk about the latter without recognizing the centuries-old work of the horticulturists.

 

The sun, the earth, and the water are part of the work, but it would be an incomplete task without the effort, dedication, and care of all those who have worked the land for centuries to preserve the quality and properties of the vegetables. This quote aptly reminds us: “The farmer of the Ribera has always been determined, forward-thinking, and progressive, and to succeed in agriculture, one needs to have that mindset.” (Curiosities of Navarra). This commendable work, the climatic characteristics of the Ebro Valley, the fertility of the Mejana land, and the culture created by the coexistence of the Three Cultures: Jewish, Arab, and Christian, have brought to our days a culinary treasure that we must care for, maintain, and promote. Unfortunately, the profession is disappearing, and with it, the affection and devotion that these men and women have had for the land and the profession will also disappear.

Lettuce, artichokes, asparagus, or tomatoes would be orphans without the “de Tudela” surname, and they are undoubtedly the most well-known, but not the only ones. There are other vegetables that are increasingly in demand for their excellent quality: “pochas” (a type of bean), borage, onions, cardoons, broad beans, or peas. All of them, separately or together in the most famous dish, “menestra,” delight locals and visitors alike. And it doesn’t matter what time of year we are in, as we will find different varieties that allow us to enjoy these products throughout the year.

 

 

Tudela Vegetable Festivals
Aware of their importance and convinced of their potential, entities such as La Orden del Volatín, the Town Hall of Tudela, businesses, groups, and associations dedicate themselves twice a year to celebrate, honor, and feast on vegetables. In spring, between the last days of April and the first days of May, the Exaltation and Vegetable Festival takes place. During these festivities, Tudela becomes the capital of vegetables, with a clear objective: to promote the vegetables of the Ribera de Navarra. The city offers a complete schedule of events, almost all of them free and organized by the Town Hall and La Orden del Volatín, which include tastings, cooking workshops, minestrone contests, communal dinners, concerts, wine tastings, visits to farms and oil mills, vegetable markets, and more. The festivals known as the Tudela Vegetable Festivals are the perfect excuse to visit this place, enjoy all the events, savor its rich gastronomy, and satisfy even the most discerning palates. Come winter, towards the end of November, the other event arrives: “Inverdura.” These are more modest days but have managed to carve out a place in the calendar. They are jointly organized by the Association of Tudela Vegetable Restaurants, the Navarra Hospitality Association, the Federation of Gastronomic Societies of Tudela ‘El Hortelano,’ and the Town Hall. The program includes various activities, most of them gastronomic and closely related to vegetables. One of the biggest attractions of both events is that they offer the opportunity to taste special vegetable menus at restaurants in the city and its surroundings.

 

Verduras de Tudela