Small lemon grades in Sicily

The Primofiore lemon campaign is getting livelier and, as far as the Syracuse area, the produce is around one month later than last season. This is due to the cold weather in winter 2017 as well as the lack of rain and heat during summer with peaks of 46°C.

The rain factor is crucial, remember that 2017 was the driest year of the last two centuries!

"The most problematic aspect is the lack of large grades, which is due to the exceptional weather events. Harvesting started around the third week of October. Quality is excellent thanks to the dry weather which, in addition to blocking fruit growth, killed many of the insects that usually attack the fruit," explained Sergio Mazzara, citrus fruit producer from the Syracuse area.

Sergio Mazzara

"As regards yields, volumes are expected to be good albeit lower than last year. The heat literally destroyed blossoms of Bianchetto and Maiolino, which should be harvested between May and June."

One of the most critical aspects at the start of the campaign is colour, as we would like to remind people that lemons are naturally green. The yellow colour has nothing to do with the degree of ripeness, but is actually connected with the temperature change between night and day.

"Luckily, many clients are starting to accept 'autumn Primofiore', which are green as they do not undergo the degreening process. Such a process, in fact, tends to age the fruit and shorten shelf-life. We adopt a very light degreening system with a natural method that preserves freshness even though the colour is suboptimal for general stereotypes. I'm personally confident that consumers will become more aware and understand that a greenish colour is synonymous with freshness."

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