This year, the real PGI Melannurca Campana marketing campaign started halfway through October. Nonetheless, there were some very early batches ready at the beginning of the month. Giuseppe Giaccio from the producer organisation Giaccio Frutta from Vitulazio said to FreshPlaza, “As for the other apples, consumption is connected to specific temperatures, usually a bit colder. We will keep going until April/beginning of May”.
Giuseppe and Antonio Giaccio
“The Melannurca is an excellent fruit. We recorded important temperature variations between day and night in the period before the harvesting. Thus, the produce developed a very nice bright red colour. Additionally, the Melannurca is crunchy and is not showing any problems regarding the preservation. Fortunately, fewer fruits have been damaged by hailstorms compared to the 2017 campaign”.
Beautiful does not mean good
Foreign markets cannot fully understand the PGI Melannurca Campana apple. “We tried, and we are trying to export our produce. But the results are not so good. Some batches go to Germany (as well as in Austria, Switzerland and Belgium) for the small Italian communities living there. Nowadays, it is risky to compete against better-looking and cheaper apples than the Melannurca, on a European level”.
Unlike some other apples, the Melannurca has an entire tradition behind it. “No other fruit in the world undergoes the same post-harvest treatments as the Melannurca. It reddens on straw beds where the apple is turned by hand twice or three times per day in order to achieve a uniform and bright red colour. Melannurca farmers have been passing on this tradition for centuries”.
In Italy, the situation is quite different, “Our country is pretty much aware of the excellent characteristics of the Melannurca. An aware consumer would spend a bit more if she knew the quality of what she is purchasing. Thanks to the nutraceutical characteristics, the Melannurca consumption has increased considerably in the last three-four years”.
The fruit is available in almost all the Great National Distribution chains (80%) and in the general markets. Depending on the size, the produce is available in different packaging – from 4 to 6 fruits. “The size changes, but the taste is always the same”, said Giaccio.
Christmas holidays – and March and April – are the most crucial months for the Melannurca, “A large part of the production is usually consumed during these periods. In our region, gifting some Melannurcas is a tradition”.