As a result of an increase in market demand, Coop Sole has been growing pumpkins for the past two years now. This reference is not the result of market trends, but reflects an established partnership with the company Don Camillo of Brescello (RE) and a well-structured cultivation programming, endorsed by a strong experimental approach and specific production techniques.
"Butternut squash represents 70% of our production and we expect an increase in surface area for this reference in the future. It is highly appreciated by the whole sector because it is well suited to easy and mechanized processing for both fresh-cut and ready-to-eat products. The cultivation of ornamental pumpkins, distributed to Italian retailers, represents a 20 to 25% of the production, while a small portion of the company's surface area is used for varietal testing. In total, the cooperative has allocated about 25 hectares to the production of pumpkins, which are destined to increase," said Mario Vicario, a technician at Coop Sole di Parete (CE).
"The harvest began in mid-September and will end towards the end of October. At the moment we are dispatching about 300 tons of butternut and 100 tons of ornamental pumpkin. This is undoubtedly a very good year for quantity and quality as a result of the excellent fruit setting, no phytosanitary problems, and a homogeneous color with no sunburn."
In line with the company's philosophy, the supply could not lack organic butternut pumpkins that, given their extreme rusticity, are well suited to this type of cultivation.
In Coop Sole we are constantly experimenting with the aim to improve and increase the yield per plant, and look for new varieties that adapt to climate change and meet the production needs of both the company and the consumer.
On this subject, Vicario pointed out that "among the most interesting novelties of this campaign are the pumpkin cultivation tests that involve the use of biodegradable plastic."
"Pumpkin cultivation surfaces are expected to increase as early as next year. We are currently gearing up for the winter vegetable campaign. Transplanting has already started in September. A wide selection of organically grown lettuces, kohlrabi, celery and organic rocket are in the pipeline. In addition, kohlrabi and trocadero lettuce from integrated production will also be available."