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Italy: Market calm before Christmas

"Unlike last year, we have noticed that, in the last few days, the market is not as lively as it should be during the pre-Christmas period, despite the availability and high-quality of produce. The weather forecast reporting snow, rain and fog is definitely not helping sales in local markets. We hope things will improve this weekend," reports CAAT-Centro Agro Alimentare di Torino.

These are the weeks of exotic and dried fruit. Pineapple, papayas and litchis are in demand during this period and can reach up to €1.30/kg for pineapples, €3.60/kg for papayas from Brazil and €6.50/kg for litchis arriving by air from Mauritius (the leading producer worldwide). 



Mangoes from Brazil are also sold during the festive season, but less than papayas. They are sold at €2.50-2.60/kg. Avocados are particularly popular with Muslims.



For what concerns dried fruit and nuts, there are a lot of quantities of pistachios from California and Iran which are sold at €14/kg, followed by nuts (mainly from France, with lower quantities from Veneto and California). Prices vary from €2.40/kg to €6.70/kg depending on quality and grades. Peanuts from California and Israel are sold at €5-6.30/kg. Dried and candied fruit are the most popular products this time of year.

The clementine situation is rather critical. Despite the drop in prices and the conclusion of the Spanish campaign, the domestic produce - sold at €0.30-0.85/kg - is not selling. Sales of tangerines are limited because the fruit is still green.

The commercialisation of Tarocco oranges started ten days ago. Quality is good and the extra category is sold at €0.60-1.80/kg. Leaf Navelina oranges from Sicily and Spain are sold at around €0.70/kg. After a period where lemon prices had dropped, primofiore lemons from Spain and Sicily increased to €1.30-1.35/kg.

For what concerns top fruit, Fuji and Golden apples from Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto and Piedmont are doing well, with prices hovering between €0.75 and €1.30/kg depending on grade and packaging. Kiwi sales are slow but, most of all, there is a lot of difference between the domestic and New Zealand produce - the former is sold at €0.60-1.30/kg, while Zespri kiwis reach €2.50/kg.

Vegetables
The hope is that this artichoke season will be better than the last, though the situation at the moment appears to be calm. Sales are slow and produce from Sardinia and Puglia is sold at €0.70-0.75/kg. The price of peppers - red and yellow from Sicily - has increased to €2.00/kg. The price of tomatoes has also increased due to the drop in production in both Italy and Spain.

The aubergine situation is rather peculiar. Purple aubergines are generally the most demanded, while demand for black aubergines is now livelier, leading to higher prices (€3.30/kg against the €2.40-2.50 of purple aubergines).

The price of light green and dark green courgettes from Italy, Spain and Morocco also varies a lot, as it ranges from €2.20 to €3.50/kg.

The price of lettuce has increased due to the lack of local produce caused by the floods in late November and the first frost. Prices vary from €1.20/kg for Roman lettuce to €2.20/kg for oakleaf lettuce.



The fennel situation is rather worrying, as prices are very low at €0.40-0.65/kg and demand is peaking.

Another very important vegetable during this season is white cardoon, sold at €1.50/kg, while the price of hunchback cardoons, a typical local product from Piedmont, is higher.

Quantities and quality seem to be excellent, but sales are not lively and the weather is penalising local markets.

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