"If the season starts badly, we need to have the courage to eliminate low-quality peaches, nectarines and plums. Although we might lose something in the beginning, at least we won't compromise the entire campaign," explains Davide Modigliani, a grower from Cesena with 12 hectares of peach orchards.
"I believe low quality in May has the potential of compromising the rest of the campaign. The agricultural sector should be more courageous. For example, fruit in May wasn't great with low shelf-life due to the rain. Consumers weren't making purchases and prices dropped and never picked up. In these cases, it would be better to avoid placing poor-quality fruit on the market."
"The hail and insects damaged 25% of the harvest, without mentioning the damage to the covers caused by the strong wind. Prices were more than satisfactory, only slightly below the average of past years."
Modigliani performs drastic thinning operations and minimum fertilization so as to increase grades and dry matter content. The production is sold in 30x40 or 30x50 crates. Peaches and nectarines are sold to retail chains, general markets or a few specialized stores.
"We are currently harvesting the Morsiani 90 variety. Average grades go from AA to AAAA. Second-quality produce is also sold packaged. Packaging is around 15 eurocents, then we need to factor in processing and transport - at least 50 eurocents per kg. The sale prices - between €1.50-2.00/kg on average depending on the variety, grade and period - were satisfactory, although the weather did affect the gross saleable production."