Italy: Small grades but good prices for persimmons
Persimmon harvesting operations have started in northern Italy. Producers noticed a drop in average grades, mostly due to the weather. We talked about it with a cooperative director and a producer.
"Yields will be lower than 2016, especially if we consider the larger grades. It does vary according to the area and orchard, though. We will start harvesting around 5th-6th October," explains Orogel Fresco Director Mauro Battistini.
Orogel Fresco grows both Tipo and firm Rojo Brillante persimmons. "The former are only destined to the domestic market and sales continue until mid-December. The latter are mostly exported and are available until January. We focus a lot on packaging and prefer 3-4 fruit packets with a black tray to make the colour of the fruit pop. The lid is rigid to make packets easier to handle."
Producer Cristian Caligari explains that the campaign is weird because of the weather. "The high temperatures blocked growth, meaning grades are mostly between 22 and 24. Grade 26 is very rare, which is a problem as prices are good."
Caligari adds that irrigated orchards are also suffering. "The 40°C we reached during summer blocked plants. There were no drops and trees were not able to make fruit grow. And it's not due to the lack of water, as us professional producers do irrigate, yet it didn't make a difference this year.
According to a few operators, "the future of persimmons is in the Rojo Brillante variety, as it is much more practical to eat as it has the texture of an apple, meaning it can be eaten on the go as well."
Publication date: 10/5/2017
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