"The strawberry campaign in Basilicata, which started much earlier than last year, is in full swing. Last year, we started commercializing strawberries on February 25th while, this year, harvesting operations started already one month ago," explains Demetrio Nicodemo, production manager for Nicofruit in Scanzano Jonico (Matera).
"The mild weather that has been going on for the past few weeks brought harvesting forward thanks to the exceptional quality, color and Brix level (10%) of the fruit. Crops are in an excellent condition and volumes are similar to those we usually harvest in late March."
Left to right: Demetrio Nicodemo (production manager) and Vito Dematteis (crop technician).
"The variety is called Inspire, a Spanish cultivar we have been experimenting for the past 2 years and which we grow on a little over 20 hectares. It has a good shelf-life and is resistant to handling. Fruit can remain on plants and in units for longer as, after being harvested, the strawberries maintain their organoleptic qualities for 15 days in cold storage units and for 10 days past the harvesting period on plants."
"80% of the production is commercialized on the domestic territory to markets and big retail chains in the center and south. The remainder is shipped to the foreign markets and Germany in particular. Orders are proceeding well and feedback is positive. Prices hover between €4 and 6/kg."
"It looks like an extraordinary year. We currently have 40 operators dealing exclusively with harvesting. When the campaign peaks, there are over 300 operators. With the current temperatures, no more than 4/5 days pass between operations."