Aurora is a historic cooperative, founded in 1976. It currently comprises 87 partners working on 140 hectares in the Pachino area - an area used for the production of tomatoes (75%), courgettes (between November and April) and watermelons (starting from the end of April), for a total of 1,600 tons.
In order to satisfy demand, the Aurora cooperative relies on selected varieties, among which is Cora Seeds' Nikas F1 hybrid. "Nikas was introduced a couple of years ago and it immediately became the favourite. This year, we will produce at least 25-30% more than in 2012. We have also decided to spread out transplants starting the end of January/February until the beginning of April. Our aim is to have produce available until mid-July in order to avoid remaining without stocks as has happened last year, when the mini-watermelon campaign ended on 25th June while demand was still high."
The current season, which started on 27th April, was affected by the weather. "Early produce from Sicily has to deal with the different climate of Sicily compared to the rest of Italy. When the sun is shining over here, it does not mean that the weather is as good elsewhere, so consumption and demand for watermelons is affected. For example, this year we started well but then the weather slowed down sales, therefore prices are still slightly lower than 2012. The season though has still a while to go, so we will see!"
The cooperative will send the first Nikas watermelons to Germany this week: "We are talking about 33 pallets, which represent our debut in Germany, a country used to 4-5 kg watermelons. The market is now opening to lighter fruits, weighing between 1.5 and 3.5 kg."
Mini-watermelons cultivated by the cooperative's partners are collected in a single 2,500 sq m packaging warehouse: fruits are delivered in bins, and are then placed in plastic boxes with foldable sides containing 6 to 10 fruits depending on the diameter.
Soc. Coop. Agr. Aurora
96018 Pachino (SR) - Sicily - Italy
Tel.: +39 0931 594389
Productors interested in Nikas F1 please contact:
Cora Seeds Area Manager
Cell.: (+39) 328 1826334
Provinces: MESSINA, CATANIA, SIRACUSA, ENNA, CALTANISSETTA, RAGUSA
Technical Manager for Italy
Cell.: (+39) 331 6088896