The cultivation of fruits of the forest is not usually associated with rather warm climates such as those in Sicily, but the conditions in the south-eastern part of the island are actually suitable for these crops. A perfect example is a company founded in 2015 covering little over 2,000 sq m and now actually covering two hectares.
Gabriele Cardini and Giuseppe Fava
It is managed by brothers Stefano e Gabriele Cardini who, over 4 years ago, founded the business together with their cousin Giuseppe Fava.
"We spent a few years perfecting our production and now manage three species: blackberries cover 5,000 sq m and are harvested between March and July, raspberries cover 5,000 sq m and are available between March and late May and blueberries cover 1 ha in total and are available between March and May," explains Gabriele.
Strength, courage and hard-work: the motto found in the company logo represents the Sicilian youth
- Blueberries: 5 kg per plant (from the second year onward) for an overall total of 2.5 tons - 550 plants every 1000 sq m;
- Blackberries: 8.5 kg per plant for an overall total of 5.1 tons - 600 plants every 1000 sq m;
- Raspberries: 1.3 kg per plant for an overall total of 2.5 tons - 200 plants every 1000 sq m.
"Of course we gained more familiarity with the crops over the years and our technological greenhouses equipped with fertigation solutions (6 mt high and made of iron) are rather important when it comes to the agronomic management of plants, which are all cultivated in soil-less conditions. Perennial plants like blueberries are planted in 45 liter vases per plant, while seasonal plants such as raspberries and blackberries are transplanted in 7 liter vases," adds Giuseppe.
The company employs integrated pest control and uses useful insects (bumblebees and honey apples) for pollination. The produce is then collected by a large cooperative specializing in soft fruit.
"We are happy with the way we have been working so far and are not interested in commercializing the produce directly because we feel it is not our job. We specialize in cultivation and are working to improve quality and quantities."
Azienda Agricola Le Tre Virtù SS
Via Stoppani, 67
97013 Comiso (RG)
Tel. +39 3283025180