“We are currently focused on the tomato campaign in Puglia which - temperatures and weather permitting - is looking positive for a series of reasons: transplant operations started in early April, we paid producers 20 eurocents/kg already two months ago for the traditional Birba F1 and Angos F1 varieties," reports Gianluca Manfredi, president or La Cupa cooperative, which specializes in the production of a wide-range of processed products including tomato sauces, although the leading product is dried tomatoes.
In the photo, Gianluca Manfredi
La Cupa is located in Scorrano (LE), Puglia. It has been cultivating a wide range of vegetables on 100 hectares for over 40 years. The produce is destined entirely to the production of preserves, spreads, vegetables in vinegar or in oil and dried vegetables, available in various formats. The company boasts two processing lines: one for products in oil and the other one for olives. The most popular product is dried tomatoes, which are sun-dried on frames covering 18.000 mq. Other dried vegetables requiring a high degree of specialization complete the range.
“Our tomatoes - both traditional and organic - are grown by local producers. They are harvested, sorted and cut by the expert hands of cooperative operators and are left to dry in the sun. Even when summer is over, the frames spread in the air the same aroma that remains etched in the minds of those who are lucky enough to try our tomato products."
The cooperative has been producing branded products since 2015, then the premium line was born in 2018 with I Cupidi - gourmet vegetables in oil - which are very popular both in Italy and abroad. The typical products from the local territory are the tasty Cicorine Salentine, the Bocconcini Sfiziosi stuffed with 10 expertly-mixed vegetables, stuffed chili peppers, and Cellina di Nardò and Leccino olives. Then there are olive, artichoke and tomato spreads as well as sauces made with red and yellow oblong tomatoes from Puglia and organic extra-virgin olive oil.
"We are currently busy making giardiniera with vegetables that are processed raw to maintain their fragrance and crunchiness. The recipe is of fundamental importance in a product that is made artisanally, otherwise you risk losing the flavor of the vegetables if they are not well balanced with the liquid: it is a noble product as there is little vinegar and salt, which is only added as a preservative and not as an ingredient. Giardiniera is a colorful mix of vegetables diced by hand: bell peppers, cauliflowers, green beans, celery, onions, carrots and fennel. They are then placed in water, vinegar, salt, lemon juice and sugar. The result is a product that is delicate and can therefore be paired with a wide variety of dishes and is available in jars starting from 350 grams."
“The domestic market is slow due to the low purchasing power of families. In Germany, demand is growing but the prices of organic processed products have dropped, in line with those of traditional products. So Germany, which has always occupied a leading position in the demand of organic products, has registered a 9% drop in turnover in the natural product segment, a trend that is not stopping even with the flyer policy, through which retailers offer super-discounts. We can therefore say the market is no longer rewarding organic products as it used to. In such a climate, producers will renounce growing organic produce, also in consideration of the lower yields and higher management costs. On a commercial level, we are promoting our brand to increase the sales mainly abroad, where we will attend the main international fairs."