Michele Sodano of Ortofrutta Mele

Mixed boxes of Tarocco and Lempso blood oranges for Valentine's Day

'What catches the eye attracts attention' is a statement that was key to Michele Sodano's re-thinking of the blood oranges offered for the current season. Sodano is a young trader and sales agent for Ortofrutta Mele from Italy's Campania region.

Michele Sodano

"I’ve long wanted to include the Tarocco Lempso in our assortment. However, so far the available quantities were not enough to actually do this. In the 2020/21 season, I purchased this orange for the first time from the Sicilian area of Palagonia, where I also get the traditional Tarocco. This has helped in boosting the sales of blood oranges."

The splendid appearance of the Tarocco Lempso

The reason for choosing the Lempso has to do with its exceptional aesthetic qualities, it is a real eye-catcher. "Given the very high production price, which is sometimes almost double that of the traditional Tarocco, I decided to offer a box of mixed oranges, that is, with both the Lempso and the traditional Tarocco. This has attracted the interest of many wholesalers."

The box of mixed oranges has been a success in three ways: 1) it is aesthetically pleasing; 2) the overall cost is somewhat contained because it does not contain only Tarocco Lempso oranges; 3) the overall quality is excellent.

The packaging with the new branding

"For the occasion, I wanted to come up with a brand that would symbolize the sweetness of the oranges. A similar brand already exists for our grapes. The result is a brand with the name Cassatelle Siciliane on it, with an orange placed as a cupcake, which makes it look like a pastry. In the context of Valentine's Day, a red band was designed, recalling both love and the color of the oranges. The Neapolitan market has responded very positively."

The commercial season of the blood orange has started early this year, as fruit setting has been favored by the weather. "The trees are full of oranges this year and they are already ripe. We have plenty of supply and the market does not seem particularly buoyant, which is why we are moving cautiously and are still holding off on bulk purchases of later varieties. Moreover, we have no idea how the weather will affect the rest of the crop. What I do know is that we are working hard. Around 100 tons are being harvested and the Tarocco is currently not facing competition from clementines, whose season was not particularly good in terms of quality."

For several weeks now, there has been an increase in terms of demand for smaller calibers. "Smaller oranges are becoming increasingly popular in the retail channel, as consumers are currently looking for convenience and have low spending power. Yet we are also able to market the larger sizes because we control every step of the chain, from the selection of the goods from the farms, to the shipment via our own trucks, up to the packaging in our warehouses. This allows us to keep the price low, as there are no brokerage fees to pay."

Ortofrutta Mele will start using a new storage facility. This will be dedicated to the other citrus within the production line, such as lemons, mandarins, other varieties of oranges and also avocados.

"Every season is different. For those who work a lot with bulk, it's a long shot every time, as it is in our case. Our strengths rely on maintaining relationships with selected horticultural companies, choosing the right crop and on being a family business. That makes all the difference in the results we achieve," concluded Michele.

Michele Sodano
Cellphone.: +39 333 3367869
Ortofrutta di Mele Carmela sas

Via Orlando 29
80049 Somma Vesuviana (NA)
Phone.: +39 (0)81 5307933
Fax: +39 (0)81 5308624
Email: ortofruttamele2018@gmail.com


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