"The previous citrus fruit campaign was good. There may have been a few problems with the fruits, especially of the Tarocco variety, due to the abundant rain that lead to rot issues and small grades, however we were pleased with both the production and economic results," reports Angela Arcoria, owner of Arcobio, a company founded by her father Pietro and specializing in the production of citrus fruit and organic summer fruits.
Pietro Arcoria, who founded the company in the 1960s
"As for the new campaign, production has diminished considerably due to the weather conditions during blossoming. The only thing we can do is hope that there will not be weather issues, as they could lead to good results in terms of grades though not in terms of quantities."
Agricola Arcobio covers 85 hectares in the Paternò (CT) municipality at the foothills of Mount Etna, an area famous for its citrus fruit production. Around 15 hectares are the legacy of grandfather Vincenzo.
"My father left us last winter. Over the years, he expanded what he was left by his father purchasing the land nearby. The first citrus fruit trees were planted in 1961. The turning point arrived in the 1990s, when we decided to implement organic cultivation techniques and only commercialize under the Arcobio brand."
"My father and I decided to cultivate the orchards with environmental sustainability in mind. It was an unusual approach at the time, but it is now repaying us of all our sacrifices and we have combined it with traditional processing techniques."
The renewal of the orchards affected by the Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) led us to choosing a wider range of citrus fruit (blonde and blood oranges, late tangerines from Ciaculli, kumquat, lemons, cedars, bergamot oranges, limes, finger limes, Yuzu lemons) as well as new products such as apricots, almonds and vegetables.
The attention towards sustainability also led to changes in the irrigation methods to save water and to the set up of a 120 Kw photovoltaic plant.
"In Sicily, the extreme summer draught caused by the lack of rain over four months is mostly conditioned by the reduced supplies received from the reclamation consortium. In normal conditions, we should receive water from mid-June to mid-September. This year, supplies were drastically reduced, so we have had to support plants from the 4 lakes that surround the citrus grove, otherwise I would have lost everything."
"We increased our online sales during lockdown. This channel has been growing over the years, in line with new market needs. Online customers expect authentic values and have all the means to get information, so they purchase a certain brand because they want to, not by chance. Arcobio features ethical and sustainable productions that synthetize the knowledge my father handed over to my and my daughter Iolanda."