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How to grow gourmet tomatoes

Italy: "Food is partly a necessity, partly pure pleasure"

"This is not an easy moment when it comes to the commercialization of vegetables, and table tomatoes make no exception. However, those who work following a plan can deal with the crisis," reports Gioacchino Russo, who is not just a mere grower, as he has been acquiring useful commercialization tools and the necessary certifications.

"During the first few years, I realized that there was nothing that was making me stand out. I felt the need to emerge from the mass, from productions that are referred to as 'commodities' in jargon. The first step was to improve the level of my productions, searching for varieties that stood out for their flavor and only focusing on small fruits, because their price is higher and, most of all, because they are demanded by the specialized big retail chain and the H&R sector."

Gioacchino Russo. Notice the "pergola" solution that cools the environment naturally.

Green plum tomatoes, a relatively new specialty increasingly requested by the H&R sector.

"While the entire chain mostly takes the daily quotations of the Vittoria market as reference, I can say I managed to get out of the logic that involved handing the produce to contractors. At the moment, prices are below production costs and demand is slow, even though they seem to be slightly picking up. I say this with the utmost respect for operators at the Vittoria market, because that is where Sicilian agricultural economy thrives and, under many aspects, the national one as well."

Above: black tomatoes. Below: yellow tomatoes. The Russo company grows colored tomatoes between February and June.

"What I do is entirely different! Thanks to a highly-specialized production that puts quality and flavor first, I intercept those channels that are not looking for mere tomatoes, but for highly-performing produce with which to impress clients of the best restaurants and hotels in Europe."

Detail of a crate of plum tomatoes, available between November and late August. This is a new production. Notice the "Nickel Free" certification. Not everyone knows that around 5% of the global population is allergic to heavy metals, which include Nickel. Thanks to these certified products, the most qualified restaurants have the chance to meet everyone's needs in their menus.

"Food is partly a necessity and partly pure pleasure. My productions are destined to the second of these aspects, i.e. they are perfect for the gourmet delicatessen channel. Dry matter, Brix level and the balance between acids and sugars are the only characteristics I keep into consideration, while respecting the health of consumers."

Above: green plum tomatoes in 300 gram trays. Below: red plum tomatoes in 300 gram trays of a suitable shape to hold bunches.

The company produces on three hectares of very fertile land located a few dozen meters from the Marina di Acate coastline in the Ragusa province.

For more information:
Gioacchino Russo
Azienda Agricola Russo
+39 347 8955522
[email protected]

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