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Ceraldini Group

The third season of Fragolà gets under way

The third season of Fragolà started on 12th June. This strawberry variety is cultivated by Ceradini Group at 1,100 metres above sea level in the Verona area.

The company is already a leader in the kiwi sector - the KingFruit, KingKiwi, SweetKiwi and GoldKiwi are all brands part of the company as well as Ceradini B&C, a kiwi nursery garden. Kiwis are grown on 90 hectares and others are collected from 150 producers. They are then sold both in Italy and abroad, especially to China and South Korea. The need to diversify production came in 2011, when the PSA virus first hit Italy. "We needed a high quality product to cultivate," explains Massimo Ceradini. In the end, the choice fell on soil-less mountain strawberries.

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Massimo Ceradini.

Greenhouses became operative in 2012. At the time, there were 140,000 plants and the produce was an immediate success, so much so that 220,000 plants were cultivated the following year. Production will increase this year too, as 300,000 plants of the Irma, Capri and San Andreas variety are being cultivated and they are expected to produce around 200 tons.

Because of this increase in production, specific solutions to cover the plants were needed. In the beginning, it was enough to cultivate on the flat area but soon enough they needed to cover the mountain area too. "The covers enable the hot air to go out. In addition, the position and inclination of the plants means that they are always exposed to sunlight," explains Andrea Bonetti, agronomist for Ceradini. 

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Andrea Bonetti.

This is only one of the many secrets of the plant. Fertigation and the way the 4.5 hectares are divided guarantee the homogeneous growth of plants. All excess water is recycled and 5 tanks collect rain.

One of the water tanks.

"In order to have a constant production everyone places the plants at different altitudes, but we don't. We are the only ones who move the plants. They are taken to Verona in early April and then, In May they are taken in Velo Veronese. This way production covers the whole season until autumn."

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The result of all of this, in addition to a complete traceability, is "an exceptional produce. Last year prices were above average, even €14 for 2 kg - it is a boutique product, that's why we call it a jewel."

These strawberries are sold in 2kg crates (8 250g punnets) and the look is immediately recognisable. "I wanted something that could convey the exceptional nature of these strawberries - something captivating and sensual," explains Massimo. In addition to the crates, even exhibitors, flags and polo shirts are customised and we will soon have bags, Frisbees and magnets.

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Thanks to this approach to marketing, Fragolà was included with Marlene, Pink Lady, Melinda and many others as an example of "sensual" communication at the Fruit and Vegetable consumption convention held by the Cso.

Massimo Ceradini
Ceradini Group
Tel.: (+39) 045 8510268
Fax: (+39) 045 8518981
Cell.: (+39) 347 5366206

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