It is a very good moment for Italian watermelons, especially seedless ones. Consumption is driven not only by the quality of the produce, but mostly by the heat wave that is swiping through Europe, with peaks of as much as 16°C beyond the seasonal average.
FreshPlaza has talked about it with Michele Lotta, sales and logistic manager at OP Agricola Campidanese, a Sardinian organization that commercializes its products under the L'Orto di Eleonora brand.
"We ship around 90 thousand kg every week, but demand has increased by 20% over the past few days both in Italy and abroad. In addition to Italian chains, we mainly supply Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Germany. Summer 2022 is going well, so much so that our turnover is 15% higher than last year. We are responding well to the multiple requests from operators, despite the fact that 25% fewer crops were planted due to the general uncertainty."
Marco Michele Lotta
"Eleonora and Gavina mini-watermelons are doing particularly well because they are seedless, colored, sweet and with a good texture, plus the rind does not exceed 0.5 mm. Quality is high thanks to the favorable weather and the improvements we have implemented over time. The heat is shortening the life cycle of productions from 60 to 50/52 days especially in areas, like Sardinia, where the temperature difference between night and day is lower, meaning fruits grow and ripen constantly. However this is not a negative aspect, considering the lively demand of the past few weeks."
"The only negative note is the lack of personnel, made worse by the problems linked with the increase in Covid numbers. Every day, there are workers who are not coming in, slowing down operations."