“We aim at perfecting the cultivation techniques of early prickly pears in recyclable plastic greenhouses, which can also be opened up depending on the weather so as to arrive on the market at least one month early. We managed it with the first hectare this summer and results have been amazing," reports Cono Seggio, owner of Sicilian company Seggio Fruit.
"Plant protection helps defend against climate change and we are on the right path considering that, a few weeks ago, a heavy hailstorm hit crops that were being harvested in some areas near San Cono (CT)."
Seggio Fruit commercializes large quantities of summer fruits grown on around 300 hectares of land in areas most suitable for the cultivation of prickly pears, table grapes and apricots. The leading product is prickly pears, which are grown in San Cono (CT) and the surrounding municipalities of Mazzarino, Piazza Armerina and San Michele di Ganzaria. The company commercializes around 2,500 tons of Agostani (not 'scozzolati', i.e. without eliminating blossoms) and Bastardoni (deriving from the elimination of the first blossom). Fruits are processed in a large 3,000 sq m facility where the spines are removed and the fruits are graded within 24 hours from harvesting so they are ready to be sent to the commercialization channels.
"We commercialize the fruits in fresh produce markets in Italy and abroad, where our production is much appreciated thanks to its healthy characteristics. The objective is to increasingly promote productions especially on the foreign markets, as market shares are indeed growing year after year. This also to obtain a higher remuneration compared to the domestic market."
"Unfortunately, the market is being affected by the crisis at the moment, as families are cutting down on consumption due to their lower purchasing power caused by inflation. We have also been saving on expenses wherever possible because of the higher energy prices and lack of labor, so we can still provide fruit at an excellent quality/price ratio."
Seggio Fruit grows the yellow or Sulfarina, white or Muscaredda and red or Sanguigna prickly pear varieties. The yellow one is the most popular especially because of its high productivity and good adaptability. The white one is particularly prestigious and appreciated for its unique flavor, while the red one is appealing due to its deep red color generated by the high betaxanthin and betacyanin levels."
Sicily is the exclusive producer of prickly pears on a European level: it has the monopoly of the Italian market and of over 90% of the EU market thanks to its 7 thousand hectares. The leading production areas are located in San Cono (CT) and at the foothills of Mount Etna.
For further information:
Seggio Fruit Srl
C/da Albanese snc
95040 San Cono (CT)
+39 0933 970532
+39 327 348 6303