The Sicilian artichoke campaign has just started so it is impossible to make an assessment. Still, it is possible to gauge the orientation of the market, which does not look too bad. FreshPlaza talked about it with Enzo Rametta.
"The past two years have been awful and this campaign could be the last for many companies located in eastern Sicily, unless things change."
"Something seems to be happening when it comes to prices. We are talking about 32-40 eurocents per artichoke wholesale or €8-10/bunch at Maas Catania. However, if the weather does not help us, prices will drop."
Artichoke consumption goes hand in hand with the weather: the lower the temperatures, the livelier the market.
"From a productive point of view, things are not too good. There are no plant diseases, but we have had a few difficulties caused by the excessive rain, which has led to a 15-20% drop in production. We are also affected by the competition of the produce from Puglia and that from North Africa will become available soon."
How is eastern Sicily organized when it comes to artichoke production?
"Our area goes from Catania to Ramacca also including Caltagirone and Niscemi (CL). We plant around 10,000 plants per hectare, each producing around 12 artichokes. Planting cost hover around €5,000 per hectare."
Why are artichokes so popular with consumers?
Artichokes are particularly full-bodied and sweet. They are excellent from November and June, they are easy to digest and boast exceptional therapeutic and nutritional properties. They are cholesterol and fat-free with few calories, a high fiber content and significant levels of iron, zinc, copper, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, B and C.
Italy is the leading global producer with a share of 54% of the total.