"This is undoubtedly an excellent year for the Cilento white fig tree, given the favorable weather conditions. We have not seen a similar campaign in the last three years. The yield has increased by 50% compared to previous years and the quality is superb. The dry climate recorded during the ripening and harvesting period has improved productivity and has not affected the quality. On the contrary, this year no rotting or mold has occurred on the fruit." This is according to Francesco Cardone, agronomist and owner of Tenuta Marchese Cardone di Agropoli, in the province of Salerno.
"Usually the fig harvest lasts between 30 and 40 days. This year, however, we have been harvesting since the beginning of August and, at the moment, we are still processing the dehydration. This operation is carried out in greenhouses with a longer drying time (between 3 and 5 days) than traditional desiccators, which take a maximum of 2 days."
The company's origins dates back to the 1970s and the cultivation method was similar to the current one. However, a generational standstill occurred and, since the '90s, with installation of new plants, the company has focused on the production of figs again. Currently, this production covers an area of 27 hectares, of which 4 of fig, 20 of olive groves and 3 of vineyard. It is fundamental to diversify the agricultural production, according to the entrepreneur, in order to be able to work all year round.
"The estimated production for this campaign is about 5 tons of fresh Cilento DOP figs and 2.5 tons of dried figs. In October, the figs will be available to the consumer with well-appreciated products such as dried figs stuffed with pistachio nuts."
The entrepreneur analyzed the commercial situation. "The fresh Cilento Dop white fig is distributed to retailers in Italy. My prices remained constant over the years, thanks to partnerships with some POs in the Piana del Sele area. But, generally speaking, this year's quotations have been lower, due to the abundant production."
"On the other hand, the dried fig, in addition to being marketed in Italy in wineries and food stores, also reaches European markets through a distributor. The dried fig has a shelf-life of about 9 months and only 20% of the product is registered under the DOP brand. Its consumption periods go from September to December, with a tendency to increase near the Christmas and Easter holidays."
"In conclusion, I plan to increase the production surfaces of figs in the future and I plan to create an ad hoc structure for the processing of this product."