"Production is in full swing and will go on like this until June/July. We are still packaging and commercializing a lot of good-quality produce from Sicily and are working mainly with Primofiore, as Bianchetto volumes are low this year and there should also be very few Verdello lemons," explains Ferdinando Vinaccia from "La Costiera", one of the leading lemon producers, traders and handlers part of Consorzio dei produttori del Limone di Sorrento IGP.
The lower volumes are due to the unfavorable weather conditions. "The recent downpours and drop in temperatures are leading to larger grades, which are difficult to sell. We are mainly interested in grades 3/4 and demand is lower for grade 2. On the other hand, cold temperatures are positive as, in addition to favoring lemon color, they stagger ripening, so the fruit is not all available at the same time."
The expert believes that the demand-offer ratio is well-balanced for the time being, also because there is still no Argentinian produce available. "Lemons from Argentina become available in late June. Last year, the country shipped a lot of produce so we will have to see how things go this year. As it only has a single consortium, supply is compact. Argentina is very careful and moves according to commercial conditions."
La Costiera is also packaging lemons from Campania. They are sold with leaves and represent 30-35% of the overall supply.
La Costiera also exports lemons to northern Europe. "Though our produce is not available in Eastern Europe due to the strong competition of the produce from Spain and Turkey, which is sold at a much lower price."
"In summer, we purchase counterseasonal produce from Argentina and South Africa. This year, though, the Citrus Black Spot-CBS question is still open so we will have to see how things go."