Azienda Agricola Dario Gallo, located in Montesano sulla Marcellana (Salerno, Italy), has undertaken a project focused on soilless strawberry cultivation within micro-polytunnels using coir and perlite supports.
Commencing with approximately 15,000 plants in late 2016, the primary goal was to achieve a yield of 60 tons from late June to late October. The farm has since expanded to 150 thousand plants spanning 5 hectares, with plans to introduce another hectare in 2024, reaching a total of 220 thousand plants.
Dario Gallo, the young owner, emphasizes the collaborative efforts with agronomic experts Maurizio Verderame and Alessia Conte. "We have worked with many varieties over the years and, at the moment, we are focusing only on Portila, delivering locally sourced strawberries that are fresh, untreated, nickel-free, and known for their unique sweetness", Dario says.
(Photo taken from a corporate video - Source: youtube.com)
Gallo underscores the importance of sustainable practices in their approach. ""We produce in coir and perlite bags, into which a water and fertilizer solution is introduced that helps strawberries achieve the perfect conditions. Everything without wasting resources thanks to precision agriculture, which helps us reduce the consumption of water and nutrients in favor of an improved productivity."
In addition to adopting environmentally friendly practices, the farm has invested in soil maintenance machinery and installed a 3.5 KW photovoltaic system.
Discussing future plans, he envisions expanding the product range, constructing a state-of-the-art greenhouse to maximize plant density on a smaller footprint, and implementing an upgraded fertigation system.
Despite the farm's success in supplying strawberries nationwide, Dario acknowledges challenges such as weather-related fluctuations affecting prices. Notably, during a period from early September to early October, prices experienced a temporary decline due to abundant volumes from Trentino and the Verona area.
Dario is the son of an agricultural entrepreneur. His father Raffaele supports him and has worked for years in a cooperative dealing with the production, commercialization and processing of small fruits.
Therefore the young entrepreneur knows fully well what it means to work in agriculture today. "An important challenge is represented by the growing costs, and also climate change represents a great challenge. It is impossible to plan things. With the higher-than-average temperatures registered up until a few weeks ago, production could continue for a while. This is an excellent moment from a commercial point of view and strawberries are worth their weight in gold!"
Photos supplied by Dario Gallo
For further information:
Azienda agricola Dario Gallo
via Tempa, 6
84033 Montesano sulla Marcellana (Salerno)
+39 348 079 3129