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Giuseppe Campisi

Italy: The Syracuse lemon campaign will start next week

The Syracuse lemon campaign will be very different from the 2013/14 one. "Last year, thrips attacked plants during blossoming and affected the look of fruit but, this year, produce is looking perfect," explains Giuseppe Campisi, coordinator of the Comitato Limoni dell'Organizzazione interprofessionale Ortofrutta Italia, Fruitimprese advisor and owner of Campisi Group. 

Giuseppe Campisi. (Photo: FreshPlaza)

"The Primofiore campaign will start next week with excellent fruit. Production should be 15% lower than 2013/14, but it is actually the same percentage we had to send to the processing industry last year because the produce could not be sold fresh."

The current campaign should last from November 2014 to mid June 2015.

Early summer lemons ("verdelli") have a greenish peel, but quality is just as good as that of yellow lemons. "I don't see why we should buy limes when Sicilian lemons have the same colour. The flavour is excellent and the peel can be used in many dishes." 

In the last decades, the market pushed towards "degreening", i.e. forced ripening by placing the produce in units with ethylene gas for 36 to 70 hours, just like bananas. In order to obtained yellow lemons, they must be therefore "aged", making them loose their freshness and aroma.

"Nowadays though, it seems that consumers are more careful as regards the genuineness of fruit, so they could be ready to understand that green lemons are more coherent with the respect of the natural cycles and have better organoleptic qualities and shelf-life."

Over half of the produce is sold abroad, mainly to Germany, Austria and France; "Last year however, demand also came from Eastern European countries." In addition, the manager does not feel he should worry about the Russian ban. "Actually, I'm hoping we will get less competition from Turkey as it now seems it is exporting more towards Russia."

Campisi Group

Via Elorina 184
96100 Siracusa
Sicily - Italy
Tel.: (+39) 0931 722260
Fax: (+39) 0931 722261

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