"This year, we dedicated 40 hectares more of protected crops to the cultivation of dark zucchini and kohlrabi. For the first time ever, we also planted some parsley as a test, as we are curious to see how it will do on the domestic and foreign markets. Parsley is a niche product, but there are interesting margins," explains Alberto Nocera, president of the Agrieuropa cooperative located in Terracina (Latina).
Agrieuropa planted 600 crops of winter vegetables such as kohlrabi, radishes, spinach, zucchini and valerian, to be grown in open fields and greenhouses.
"In Italy, traditional baby spinach crops are giving way to organic ones, following the European trend. Consumption is also decreasing and, in fact, we went from the 80 hectares of 8 years ago to the current 50."
"The commercial relations with the Italian markets (interesting, but risky) represent only 10% of our turnover, while the rest is from exports to Eastern European countries, Germany and Central Europe. We are aiming at the Scandinavian markets with packed unwashed salads and baby leaves. Most of the work with the foreign market will start in mid-November to end in May."
Valerian is one of the company's main products: it is sold pre-washed and sent to the fresh-cut industry. "It has been a good winter campaign as demand was good despite the coronavirus. The trend in summer was also satisfactory."
"Our products are zero residue but, for the next few years, we are aiming at setting up an organic range, as this product is increasingly popular on the European market."