Italy: Arcobio organic citrus fruit

"Citrus fruit had to deal with the high temperatures and unprecedented drought that characterised the summer season which affected both grades and quantities. It is difficult to make an estimate as our trees are young, between three and six years old," explains Angela Arcoria, owner of the family business founded by her father, Pietro.

In the photo: Angela Arcoria with her father Pietro, founder of Arcobio.

"We managed to reach decent prices, at least. The fact that our productions are organic (and have been since 1992) and that our quality standards are high is helping a lot."

The business is located at the foothills of Mount Etna, an area renowned for citrus fruit production.

"The company now covers 70 hectares and was started with around 14 hectares inherited by granddad Vincenzo. Over the years, my father purchased the surrounding land. The first citrus fruit trees were planted in 1961."

"But the true turning point arrived in the 1990s, when we decided to fully implement organic cultivation techniques and to commercialise the produce directly under the Arcobio brand. My father and I decided to set up the new groves with an eye to environmental sustainability. It was unusual at the time but it is now repaying itself."

"We treat our trees as if they were our children: my father taught me about the importance of respecting nature. Even though I am busy with school in the morning, I dedicate the rest of my time to our family business."

The company continued to grow until 2010, then it stopped due to the Tristeza virus (CTV) as was forced to replant around 50 hectares.

An important decision was that of diversifying production: 50 hectares are now dedicated to different citrus fruit varieties in order to have fruit available between November and May. There are also 3 hectares dedicated to almonds.

Four hectares are dedicated to apricot production and the fruit is commercialised between mid-May and late June.

The company owns an 800 square metre warehouse with a refrigerated unit equipped with an ozone system for post-harvesting storage. There is also a 100 Kw photovoltaic plant to meet the company's energy needs.

While the current focus is on fresh produce, the company is also thinking of increasing its processed product range, especially in the dried segment.

90% of Arcobio citrus fruit is commercialised abroad, especially in Germany, Switzerland and England, also via e-commerce.

"Our partner wholesalers abroad deal with distribution directly. Our market segment is very high at the moment and has nothing to do with mass production."

Azienda Agricola "Arcobio"
Contrada Sferro
C/da Sferro - Paterno' (CT) - Italy
Cell.: (+39) 3489040422 / 336923800

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