The Bergamot orange is a very particular citrus fruit that until a few years ago had only one destination - the perfumery industry. Later on it entered sectors such as cosmetics, pharmacology and food production. Recently, it has also acquired a small niche on the fresh market and it is mainly foreign countries that appreciate it as a fresh product. France first and foremost.
"We started harvesting our bergamot oranges about ten days ago. Our company has 4.5 hectares, of which 25% of the production goes to the fresh market, the remaining percentage is for the processed products industry," said Antonino Quattrone of Società Agricola Quattrone, located in Reggio Calabria and specialized in the cultivation of bergamot for more than 40 years.
"We are a family-owned company and our work is based on organic farming, a method of cultivation that allows only the use of natural substances, already existing in nature, with the exclusion of chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides."
The bergamot season of the Società Agricola Quattrone runs from the end of September/beginning of October to the beginning of February. "This past year turned out to be not a very good one and we made about 60 tons of product. The initial prospects for the current season are more promising and we expect to reach a total volume higher than last year."
Fresh bergamot is available until the end of December. "We have been working with France almost exclusively, for about 6 years. We rely on Blife srl and we are able to deal directly on the price. This is more difficult in Italy, because payment on behalf of third parties is not profitable for our fresh product - explained Quattrone - We are open to new business relationships in Europe, for example in Germany or the Netherlands. I think our bergamot can be appreciated there too."
From January to February the remaining unsold production is destined for local industries.
In some cases, the fresh product is delivered directly to foreign customers, but the farm company mainly delivers the bergamot to a hub in Milan, where the product is then sorted to different users.
"Most of our product is packaged in boxes of 7-8 kg, under our company brand. On specific request we also supply a 4-5 kg format", concluded Quattrone.