"This year should be full of optimism," said Iolanda Turrà, Chief Administrative Officer of the company Giovanni Turrà located in Crotone, Calabria, Italy, with regard to the watermelon season that is about to begin, and after a difficult fennel campaign. The company has launched a new brand to place even greater emphasis on the bond that watermelons have with the territory.
Iolanda Turrà in a field of watermelons on 5 June 2021 (All photos provided by Giovanni Turrà)
"In about ten days we will be ready to harvest. Maybe even sooner, if the temperatures stay high. The coronavirus has dramatically changed our living and consumption habits, but there is a great desire for change and for a way out of the situation. We therefore look to the future with confidence."
Regarding the protests of watermelon growers in Almeria, Spain, Iolanda pointed out that the presence of foreign crops so far has had a negative impact on consumption and on the Italian market. "We are talking about fruits in general, not just watermelons. What is of particular concern are the crops imported from Africa, Morocco and Tunisia. These are often not grown in accordance with the cultivation protocols used in the European Union and Italy."
Fields of watermelons in Crotone, Calabria - Italy (Photo provided by Azienda agricola Giovanni Turrà)
In order to have an accurate overview of the competition, the most obvious thing to do is to make comparisons between crops with similar characteristics, but this is often not the case. "In the markets where we are present, Greece is our main competitor, even if only for a short period. Spain, on the other hand, always makes it difficult for us, but then again, we are talking about a crop of lesser quality than the Italian one. However, this is not enough to save us from the emerging price dynamics."
"It is too early to talk about the kick-off of the season and the market's related expectations, as watermelon is a crop whose consumption is highly dependent on high temperatures. What we are seeing at the moment is that Greek watermelons show optimal quality and have a rewarding average price. We hope to follow this trend soon and maintain it throughout the summer season."
The Turrà family in the field. (Photo provided by Azienda agricola Giovanni Turrà)
Calabresella, l'anguria che ti fa bella! Our mission it to bring together quality and territoriality. This is how the new Calabresella brand was born. "Our company has been exporting to Europe over the past years, especially to France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom. Starting this year, we are thinking about establishing a business agreement with Finland. Turrà watermelons under the Calabresella brand are high-end products and our first goal is to position ourselves in markets where we already have loyal customers."
(Photo provided by Azienda agricola Giovanni Turrà)
"We want to highlight the healthy, beautiful and good part of our Calabria and not just the stereotypes. Moreover, we have just overcome a crisis, that of Covid-19, which has emotionally devastated us. In addition, the fennel season has not been good either because of the bad weather. We need a rebirth, and that's what Calabresella represents for us."
Less and less plastic Turrà watermelons are marketed according to the needs of consumers. "For the wholesale market in Calabria we use plastic returnable containers, while the rest of our Italian and foreign customers prefer cardboard packaging. The evolution of packaging is dictated by the market. We only need to adapt, like we have been doing for the last 5-6 years."
"We are also becoming more and more sustainable in the production process. Starting this year, we will use biodegradable materials for mulching. We want to contribute to a reduced impact on the environment," concluded Turrà.
For more information: www.agricolaturra.com/it