Alessandro Manzo, production manager of Natura Salentina, explained to FreshPlaza, “Everything we farm here in Salento is characterised by an authentic taste. Mostly, we produce aromatic herbs, but arugula still remains our core business”.
“The increase in the consumption of vegetables and the contextual economic crisis pushed us to rethink our business model. From a soilless nursery farm company, we decided to go for the vegetable farming, and therefore the arugula".
Our arugula is wild and jagged. We farm it 12 months a year. The challenge lies in the fact that we need to alternate greenhouse farming during the cold months and an open field farming from May to September. In this way, our consumers have a fresh product throughout the year”.
Alessandro added, “We usually fight the Altica parasite, especially during the warmest periods. This insect ‘gnaws’ the leaf of the plant thus making it non-marketable. Of course, this has mostly economic repercussions. If it reaches a certain level, it can bring to a 60% loss of the harvest – which however is subsequently solved by waiting for the healthy re-growth of the plant”.
“Our arugula is hand-harvested and marketed in bunches. Here in Southern Italy, we sell our arugula not only to the restaurants but also to medium-small suppliers. Usually, we record 25.000 kg of yearly produce”.
“We are proud to farm these delicacies, especially if they are produced in Salento, which is renowned for its fields rich in mineral salts, usually red and extremely nurturing.