Sicilian fresh produce has found a new commercial outlet in Ireland thanks to a young trader who moved to Dublin from Agrigento and specialized in the supply of excellent Sicilian products. Gerlando Agrò has been operating in the Irish capital for the past ten years via his company "The Lemon Tree Store Ltd".
"I come from a farming family and I used to help my father harvest grapes as a kid."
"Our family business also grew local vegetables we used to resell, then my father became a wholesale trader in 1985."
"I moved to Ireland and established my company in 2011 though I maintained my close relationship with Sicily, so much so that I now import most of the produce from my family company. This way, I can always guarantee the high-quality of the produce. Of course we also import from other companies depending on the volumes and produce needed."
"We mainly import round, cherry and ribbed tomatoes, new potatoes, citrus fruit, stone fruit and top fruit. The clementine and blood orange season was very profitable and ended around ten days ago. We are now waiting for summer fruits such as apricots and peaches."
"Prices in Ireland fluctuated but I can definitely talk about the seasonal average of a few products. Round smooth tomatoes sold at around €1.50-2.00/kg, while cherry tomatoes reached €2.50-2.80/kg. Grade 6 blood oranges sold at around €1.50/kg, similar to grade 2 clementines."
"In April 2020 I launched the new 'Nustralì - Born in Italy' brand to better explain to our Irish customers the high-quality of our Sicilian produce. The idea came to me from the requests and feedback received, but I have to add that I was also inspired by one of our suppliers - Di Pasquale - who reached great customer loyalty goals with its brand Donnalia. We will also introduce a dedicated packaging as soon as possible."
The effects of Covid-19 in Ireland
"Unfortunately nothing is moving within the H&R sector, as businesses have been closed since early March and the Irish government is talking about restarting in August. As for the retail sector, we are taking all the precautions needed. Volumes have increased by 20% compared to last year."