The Turkish fruit season has entered in its second half: figs and stone fruits are now off the market, while citrus and pomegranates are increasingly coming onto the market. More than anything else, pomegranates and Easy Peelers from Turkey are seeing a rising popularity in the European trade, says Ziya Sizgin, managing director of UvaFruit Handels LLC, based at the Viennese wholesale market.
In week 39, the first pomegranates from the Antalya growing region arrived at the Vienna trading area. "We started with prices being around 1.40-1.50/kg. Now we are at 1.25-1.30 Euro/kg. We are still mainly offering smaller sizes (calibers 10 and 12), but from week 42-43 onwards, we expect more of the larger calibers (7-8-9). At the same time, the first programs with the Austrian and German retailers will start off, as expected," Sizgin says.
On the left: Turkish pomegranates of the Hicaz variety.
Right: Turkish quinces are also in season now.
According to Sizgin, Turkish pomegranates of the Hicaz variety are enjoying increasing popularity on the European market. "Due to their quality, Turkish batches have now become very popular, especially in the wholesale trade. Morocco and Greece cannot compete with the Turkish product in terms of quality, while Iran, on the other hand, produces goods of good quality, but still struggles with Corona-related export restrictions. Finally, we have to wait and see what volumes, of what quality, will come from the large cultivation countries Spain and Italy."
Turkish Easy Peelers conquer the market
Parallel to the season prelude with the pomegranates meets now also Turkish citrus fruits increased on the market. Sizgin: "The availability of Turkish Interdonato lemons - an important commercial product for us - is now increasing rapidly, and by the end of the month we will also be able to offer Turkish oranges in greater volumes."
However, it is mostly the smaller citrus fruits - such as satsumas and W. Murcott - which are traded in large quantities. "Turkish Satsumas are already available and they usually run until the end of February. These fruits are traded a lot especially in December - there often double sales volumes flow away."
The W. Murcott mandarins will probably keep us waiting until mid to late October. According to Sizgin, this variety is also meeting with increasing demand in the trade. "The lighter the fruit and the sweeter the taste, the more popular it will ultimately be in the market. However, these fruits, although easily peelable, have an increased risk of peel defects during storage and packaging."
Import and export restrictions in times of Corona
The further course of the Turkish season will inevitably depend on the possible tightening of Corona requirements. This is due to the fact that at the beginning of the pandemic there was already an export stop for lemons. "I do not expect Turkey to impose any new export restrictions, especially since citrus exports are of great economic importance. Of course, we hope that the EU will not come up with more restrictions."