Gentile Group, the cooperative located in Policoro (Matera) and specializing in the cultivation of strawberries and soft fruit, now has Baby Plums® available in different colors, formats and varieties.
Founder member and president Loris Gentile explained that "they are smaller than cherries, but feedback has been great when it comes to both their appearance and sweetness. The refractometric index is in fact very high, with values varying between 16 and 20 degrees Brix. For most varieties, the organoleptic qualities of the fruits are close to those of exotic tropical fruit, while others are more similar to traditional plums."
Berries by Gentile Group
"Baby Plum is a Gentile Group exclusive, yet another investment on what was lacking and on what consumers are looking for to satisfy their palates. Harvesting goes from June to October and, although we are a few weeks away from the first crates becoming available on the market, we are already receiving positive feedback. As for sales prices, they are similar to those of raspberries and blackberries and, in some cases, they are 10% higher."
"These fruits are rather perfect - plums have a round shape and different colors (pink, yellow, green, purple and orange). They are commercialized both in Italy and abroad in 100, 125 and 250 g trays and in mixes together with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. For Germany there is also a 500 g pot with a mix of different-colored fruits, which consumers have appreciated a lot."
"We have selected 4 cultivars of the 12 tested, and another 3 are still being assessed. Fruits have a long shelf-life, which even exceeds 30 days for some varieties. We are currently planning the next campaign and, in 2022, we will plant more orchards at our partners' facilities in southern Italy."
Francesca Quinto, founder member of Gentile Group, added that "the frenetic pace of our everyday life and the ongoing research on what is "good&fast" stimulated the launch of new ready-to-eat small fruits so as to increase what is available on the Italian market."
"Consumers are looking for fruit that is easy to eat without getting dirty and that can take up as little space as possible. Baby Plums are the perfect answer, as they can be eaten as a snack and, in addition to providing the right dose of mineral salts such as potassium (necessary especially in the warmer season), they are an excellent liver decongestant and stimulate the nervous system."
"But there is more in store for summer 2021. Our mission is to strengthen the ever-evolving berry sector as much as possible with our fully-Italian products."