The situation is "tragic" when it comes to melons: production is very low and prices are skyrocketing. The early produce is severely lacking in Sicily and volumes are low in Spain as well. The whole of Europe is looking for melons, but they are difficult to find.
"I have never seen anything like it in the past 40 years. We cannot even process orders. Everything was determined by a series of events. Fewer plants were planted due to the production costs. Then the weather caused setting problems, so the few hectares of early melons obtained low yields. Lastly, the temperatures delayed ripening by over 10 days," explained Bruno Francescon from Mantuafruit.
Alessio Orlandi and Bruno Francescon
The result? "The melons available on the market do not meet demand and we cannot process orders. What is more, we are telling our clients it is not the case to proceed with the special offers at €1.99/kg we had planned. Since there is no produce, that price is not enough even to purchase the produce at origin," explains sales manager Alessio Orlandi.
According to Orlandi, this situation shall last for a few weeks, at least until late May or early June. "Organoleptic quality is very good, but harvesting must be monitored because, due to the high demand, there is the risk that someone will try to harvest the fruits when they are not yet suitably ripe. We urge producers to harvest when it is the right time. The harvesting of smooth melons in Sicily will start over the next few days, followed by the rest of the peninsula."
The summer-like temperatures of the past few days have livened up the demand for summer fruit. "The situation is similar for watermelons. We will not go back to normal before a couple of weeks."
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