The cherry campaign is in full swing in Puglia. Prices remain stable, but competition in Europe seems worrying. "The produce boasts excellent organoleptic qualities, however quantities are considerable, meaning grades tend to be affected," explained Saverio Di Palma, owner of a company (Di Palma Donato & Figli) specializing in the production and commercialization of cherries as well as table grapes.
"To this problem, we must add the pressure from other production areas as the Spanish, Turkish and Greek produce is also available on the market. Productions have overlapped and, in absence of adverse climate conditions, this has caused a surplus leading to a drop in sales prices."
"We currently process over 250 tons a day, a volume that should remain constant for at least the next 3 weeks. We supply markets and big supermarket chains in Italy and all over Europe, and have registered an increasing attention from Arab and Asian buyers, interested in the flavor, firmness and sugar content of the Ferrovia cultivar. Thanks to Unitec technology, we manage to sort the fruit not only based on grade, but also according to color so as to supply produce that meets the specific quality requirements of each single client."
"When it comes to packaging, this year we have introduced Social Plastic® heat-sealed punnets developed in collaboration with Carton Pack and Idem Design, available in the 250-500 gram formats and which we believe valorize the fruits with particular attention to the ethical-social topic. It is a state-of-the-art innovation that addresses the environmental pollution and social solidarity problems."
"This is definitely a difficult campaign, made even more complicated by the cost of raw material which has increased by 30-50%. What is positive is that the Puglia productions are among the favorite on both the domestic and international markets. This is why we have decided, together with one of the main breeders in the world, to select cherry varieties with a low need for chill hours and that ripen early with large crunchy fruits. This project also involves late cultivars. We opted for this investment to further extend the commercialization calendar thanks to covering systems that help us need with the climate changes underway."