Six months after the harvesting and commercialization of early Fortuna strawberries, the time has come to make an assessment of the current campaign. Harvesting is still underway in Basilicata and will continue throughout May.
"It was a satisfactory year for all producers, who can no longer do without this cultivar because the fruit can be placed on the market already in early November thanks to the long calendar. Results have been positive already with the first fruits harvested, which contributed to a positive atmosphere even in the months with a livelier demand," explains Rocco Marzo, sales manager at Fornabaio Piantine.
"The cultivar performs well also at the end of the season. If we consider last year, in fact, harvesting operations ended in mid-June. Producers are very pleased with the results, so much so that they want to expand the crops. We will start with orders for the 2021/22 season from mid-May and until June 15th, so as to guarantee precise delivery dates enabling growers to get organized."
Many strawberry producers from Metaponto are happy to talk about the positive results obtained with this variety, including Filippo Corvaglia from Scanzano Jonico, owner of 2 hectares of Fortuna strawberries. "Despite the weather - characterized by few sunny days and frequent cold fronts - we always managed to guarantee continuous supplies to the general markets and main retail chains. Actually, thanks to the long shelf-life of the fruits, we even ventured outside the national border and reached Germany. Compared to the last campaign, we have had fewer plant problems and fruits have been extraordinary in terms of quality, Brix level and shelf-life. We are already planning the next campaign and we are thinking of doubling the crops."
Pasquale Melidoro, sales manager at Mean Frutta, adds that "prices are good already in early November, when quotations do not drop below €6/kg, then reach €10/kg towards Christmas. Now that other cultivars are also available on the market, Fortuna prices hover around €2.20-2.30/kg. Of course the season is almost ending but, thanks to the new blooms, we will be able to continue until late May."
Salvatore Rosito, who owns 4 hectares and is planning on adding at least another one, is also very pleased with the results. "Harvesting operations started on October 29th, 2020. This cultivar is the only variety that enables us to have produce available in the fall, while we wait for the other cultivars to ripen. This year, they were late due to the weather."