The supply of organic stone fruits from Greece is currently running at full speed. The corona pandemic has hardly affected exports, which means that weather-related harvest losses are having a major impact. "This means there has been a considerable supply gap in the early and middle stone fruits - whether nectarines, peaches or apricots," says Sophoclis Michaelides, Managing Director of Bio-Ilios LLC in Tübingen, a major supplier of Greek organic products.
Organic Greek apricots
According to Michaelides, the weather conditions in the important growing region of Northern Greece were particularly detrimental to the growth of stone fruits. "Immediately after blossoming, there was late frost followed by a short but extreme heat wave with temperatures around 42 degrees. As a result, only small yields are available and the available export goods are traded at very high prices". According to current estimates, prices are about 20-30 percent higher than last year.
Grape cultivation in Greece
In addition, there is a fairly high demand for organic stone fruits on the domestic Greek market, because the available volumes are also limited in the conventional sector. As a result, only very few goods remain for export, which is why prices are being driven up further. However, the market is expected to recover soon. "At the moment producers are starting to harvest the late varieties and we expect good product availability, i.e. normal to good yields," Michaelides predicts.
Organic Sultana grapes will come in soon.
Good grape campaign expected
Meanwhile, the harvest of Greek organic grapes is also ready to go. In just over a week, the first table grapes of this year's season will be picked and loaded. "Traditionally, we start with seedless Thomson and Sultana in the last week of July. About a week later, the first blue Attica grapes follow, a variety grown exclusively in Greece." In contrast to the stone fruits, the first signs are positive. "There was optimal, cool weather and hardly any pest infestation, which is why we expect high and qualitatively good yields. We now hope that the weather will continue to play along in the coming weeks."
Parallel to the organic table grapes, the main season for Greek figs also starts. Bio-Ilios LLC is also one of the larger players on the German market in this area.
Bio-Ilios is one of the main suppliers of the German organic food trade in terms of Greek organic grapes. The organic grapes are cultivated under contract by a total of three cooperatives in Peleponnes and on the island of Crete. "The volumes could be increased continuously over the last years, as well as the quality of our table grapes. Of course there are higher yields and larger areas under cultivation in Italy and Spain. The cultivation of Greek organic table grapes is more labour-intensive, partly because of the small farm structures, but there is no monoculture and the fruit is produced in harmony with nature."