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Melon harvesting in full swing between Mantua and Verona

The price of high-quality melons is very good, sometimes even double that of standard produce. Harvesting is currently in full swing in northern Italy and especially in Mantua and Verona. Zerbinati Agricoltura covers 250 hectares in the Mantua province and melons are one of its main crops. At the moment, it is growing the Honey Moon smooth variety.

"We're currently harvesting forced cultivation produce while that of open field productions will start in a few days' time. Production is slightly lower but quality is excellent. The weather slowed ripening down, meaning sweetness developed gradually reaching a high Brix level. Our policy has anyway always been that of leaving just a few flowers per plant, so as to obtain fruit that was above average. 50% of the produce is destined abroad, mainly to Great Britain," explains Oscar Zerbinati.

The area destined to melon cultivation between Mantua and Verona is approximately 680 hectares and represents 71% of the total area in Veneto, which is of around 952 hectares. Rovigo follows with 208.4 hectares. Average quantities are 40 tons per hectare for 27,200 in total.

"Thanks to our twenty years of experience, we have developed cultivating techniques that enable us to harvest sooner than the rest of northern Italy. Super-early melons will be available for another few weeks, then it will be the turn of other varieties. Unfortunately, we have noticed our effort is useless as our fruit is more appreciated in other provinces than in Verona. This in turn means everything is based on prices rather than on quality," explains producer and Coldiretti section president Riccardo Bonfante.

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