Exceptional bad weather hit Apulia in the past 48 hours with terrible effects on early cherries. After yet another alarmist press release, FreshPlaza decided to investigate and verify whether the figures reported by Coldiretti Bari were indeed real.
Unfortunately, we must report that delicate early cherries such as the Bigarreay and Giorgia varieties, which had already produced only limited volumes, did not survive two and a half days of rain.
In these cases, in fact, humidity leads to cracking (see photo below
In addition, 7°C temperature drops meant trees experienced a thermal shock that burned many flowers and led to shorter stalks.
Over 70% of Bigarreau and around 30% of Giorgia cherries were destroyed. At the moment, the Ferrovia variety, the leading cultivar in Apulia, seems to have been spared, although a 10% loss has been estimated for early Ferrovia plants.
The Bisceglie Cherry Consortium confirms the gravity of the situation - "only those who had already harvested managed to contain the damage."
Angelo Corsetti from Coldiretti Bari warns that "there are thousands of families in the Bari area that depend on cherry production. Each hectare requires around 600 hours of work, 85% of which are concentrated during harvesting. This means that many jobs were destroyed in just a few hours, making it impossible for entrepreneurs to recoup their investment."
Giacomo Patruno from Congfagricoltura Bari stated that the situation is still uncertain because the temperatures, which are still low, could lead to further cracking.
Yesterday's prices (May 3rd, 2016) were €6-50-7.00/kg.
With its 4,700 tons of produce, Bari is the leading Italian province for cherry production. It harvests 34% of the domestic production. The Apulia region grows 39.8% of the domestic cherry production.