"Thanks to the weather of the past few months, we will start harvesting the first limited quantities of Primofiore prickly pears around July 20th-25th and will continue until August 25th-30th," reports Paolo D'Angelo, owner of a company located in San Cono (Catania) holding the GlobalGAP and GRASP certifications.
Paolo D'Angelo together with his father
"As a company, we are committed to maximizing the quality of these fruits through thinning and specific fertigation operations. During the first week of September, we will start with Bastardoni which, weather permitting, will be available until early November, "
"Pads and fruits are removed in May-June, so the second blossoming can produce larger fruits - called Bastardoni - in the fall. Finally, this year, producers understood the concept of performing this operation late. If quantities are reduced, there are no problems selling the produce."
D'Angelo is a historical producer of prickly pears and was maybe one of the first to invest in this fruit in the 1970s. "We now have 70 hectares of prickly pears and apricots."
40% of prickly pears are destined to Italy, while 60% goes abroad "to France, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. Spain also started sending us requests as of last year."
Prickly pears are extremely healthy fruits, as they are grown with no chemical treatments or glyphosate.
Produce from the past campaign
Covid-19 and the collapse of labor
"I believe the Coronavirus affected almost all sectors, even the prickly pear one, as foreign workers are not coming back. The agricultural sector was already facing difficulties when it came to labor. We tried making up for it by training foreign workers, but now the virus dealt the fatal blow."
New apricot processing system
"We are designing a new facility to guarantee a larger produce flow in the future. This year, we replaced the processing system with a Unitec one that is working well with delicate fruits such as apricots."
The company owns 20 hectares of apricot orchards. "We usually start in early June with the Rubista, Orange Rubis and Lady Cot varieties. We are currently harvesting the Faralia variety. We will end the season around August 15th with the Farbaly and Farlis varieties."