While limited volumes of netted melons with a yellow rind grown in the Licata (AG) area have already been harvested, quantities will increase as of this week.
"We are around two weeks early. Quality is looking good and grades are excellent, so the campaign should be a good one. What is more, as the year has been quite dry, Brix level should be excellent," explains Vincenzo Marrali (in the photo below).
"The lack of rain in the past month and the favorable climate hastened fruit ripening. Yields are in line with the past years. In April, we will also start harvesting the first long-life melons with a green rind and red flesh. We have been testing them for the past few years and results are good."
Cooperativa San Tommaso is a partner of Consorzio Mundial, owner of the Red Falcon variety. "We will start with this melon, which is the feather in our cap, around mid-April."
The cooperative holds the GlobalGap and IFS Food certifications. Its facilities package the produce, which is then shipped domestically and abroad. "Netted melons with a yellow rind are mostly popular in Italy and are mainly sold in markets and small shops. We are hoping they will become available in retail chains as well and that chains start favoring the domestic produce instead of the imported one."
As for the Coronavirus emergency, the cooperative has been performing extraordinary cleaning procedures and sanitizing the equipment and vehicles. "Of course we follow all the provisions in the government decree and use disposable masks and gloves."
"We do not know what will happen and how commercialization will go. We are hoping markets will fully reopen as soon as possible."
When it comes to exports, Marrali explains that "despite the current problems, we are also aiming to commercialize the produce abroad with our buyers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. There are no impediments from a logistic point of view at the moment, there are only delays due to the checks at the border."
The quality manager took the opportunity to thank operators: "70% of our operators is at work despite all the difficulties and fears."
"We are doing our part, now the rest of the chain needs to promote Sicilian melons."
Last but not least, to help those dealing with Covid-19, the cooperative contributed to the purchase of a lung ventilator for the local hospital to help save a larger number of human lives.
Cooperativa Agricola San Tommaso
S.S. 626 Uscita Carrubba
92027 Licata (AG)
Tel.: +39 0934 1958001
Fax: +39 0934 1958003