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A fruitful time for early strawberries in southern Italy

The harvest of the Fortuna strawberry continues in southern Italy, particularly in Basilicata. On the agronomic aspect, there are no relevant problems, except for a slight increase in plant mortality compared to 2020 and a slowdown in coloring, due to the drop of temperatures in the last week. With regards to sales, on the other hand, orders are still high, especially in the North of Italy, and prices also seem remunerative.

Fortuna variety strawberry farms - Photo taken on 7 December 2021

"We have been picking strawberries for almost a month. So far we have picked about 50 grams of fruit per plant. Most of the Fortuna cultivations in Basilicata have reached 90 days from transplanting, so they are able to guarantee fruits of medium size and excellent flavor," explained Domenico Martino, production manager of the Leuzzi Lucia farm, based in Scanzano Jonico, in the province of Matera.

"Compared to last season, the quantities harvested are lower. In fact, especially in these last days, we are forced to slow down the pickings because the ripening process of the fruits has slowed down, as a consequence of the reduced presence of light and low temperatures, with minimums that, in the daytime, have reached even 7/9°C. In addition, we are monitoring the mortality of seedlings, given that we are recording a lower rooting compared to 2020; however, the causes of this phenomenon are not yet known. Mortality, in our case, has increased from 2% in 2020 to 6-7% this year."

"The demand remains high, especially in northern markets. Right now, Verona, Bergamo and Florence are the destinations that are requesting the most supplies from us. Prices are also high, albeit slightly down (about -1.50 €/paddy) compared to the same period last year. For example, in the northern markets at the beginning of December 2020 we were selling a 2-kg pan at € 18/19, while this year prices are around € 16.50/17. All in all, the campaign is going well and we believe that, with the Christmas holidays, we will see an increase in quotations and orders. The worst aspects are the general increase in prices and the lack of manpower."

For more information: 
Azienda Agricola Leuzzi Lucia
Via Andriace 9/b Scanzano J. (MT)
+39 324/5629127 - 320/9078578

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