Sicilian late prickly pear production expected to drop by 25%

"The season for late prickly pears started ten days ago. They are harvested in San Cono, in the province of Catania," said Gino Caggia, commercial director of the Cooperativa Produttori Associati Citrosol.

The harvesting of San Cono prickly pears takes place from the end of August to mid-September for the early flowering fruit and from mid-September to the end of December for the late flowering fruit.

A package with 5 prickly pears 

"The production area of our prickly pear has a Protected Designation of Origin and it covers a limited area in the municipalities of San Cono, San Michele di Ganzaria, Piazza Armerina and Mazzarino. Cultivation takes place in modern, specialized installations on well-ventilated soils. From mid-May to the end of June, the plants can be thinned out to encourage a late harvest. Our cactus pears are harvested, inspected and processed strictly by hand by our partner and placed in packaging made from recycled materials."

"We expect the late fruit crop to drop by 25% this year compared to last year.  However, thanks to the new plantings, we have a good stock, so we will not be impacted from this decrease," said Caggia.

France is one of the countries with a high demand for prickly pears, but Italy is still the main destination.

A package with four prickly pears

"It is difficult to explain to the consumer how to peel these fruits. Therefore, from this year onwards, we have a new packaging with explanations about peeling on the back written in Italian, English, French and German. We think this will encourage European consumers to buy these fruits with greater regularity."

The instructions on how to peel the fruit on the back

"In our packs there are fruits of 3 different colours. The yellow is the Nostrale variety, the red is the Sanguigna variety and the green/white is the Muscaredda variety. Therefore, there are three different varieties of fruit, with a moderately sweet taste. The flesh is firm and juicy, and the taste is fresh and balanced."

Produttori Associati Citrosol is a cooperative headquartered in Vittoria (RG) in Sicily, founded by a group of hard-working and future-oriented growers from the provinces of Ragusa, Siracusa and Catania. It has three branded product lines: Citrosol, Fatti col Cuore and Voglio Bio/Voglio benessere.

The cooperative achieves about 30% of its turnover in international markets, as a partner of some of the most important supermarket chains. The company holds the most recognized certifications in the food sector, GlobalGAP, GRASP, IFS and BIO, and is a member of Apo Conerpo and the Consorzio di Tutela Pomodoro di Pachino IGP (Consortium for the protection of Pachino PGI tomato). The cooperative uses environmentally friendly packaging and for several years now it has been committed to the sustainability standards underpinned by the new Green New Deal approved by the European Union.

For more information:
Gino Caggia 
Produttori Associati
Citrosol Soc. Coop. Agr. 
Sede operativa: Str. Resinè, km 4,2 
97019 Vittoria (Rg) – ITALY 
+39 09321836200 
+39 3355445060 (Gino Caggia)

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