There are segments that know no drops in orders or in consumption despite the current period of uncertainty and economic crisis. One of them is that of berries. Alberto De Vincenzis is a sales manager at OP Terre della Luce, a producer organization from Basilicata that started the new berry season approximately one month ago.
"We started harvesting blackberries and raspberries in mid-October and demand has been constant despite the presence of produce from other Mediterranean countries and Latin America. Our markets of reference are Lazio, Lombardy and the Veneto, but we get good feedback from abroad as well thanks to a few clients from Verona who work with various European operators. Our productions are much appreciated for their high-quality, health and freshness. The berry market is still a niche one in Italy and buyers usually have a higher purchasing power than average or are very conscious about their health, unlike northern Europe where the berry market is established with an exponential growth trend expected over the next few years."
Alberto De Vincenzis
Next year, the PO will start cultivating blueberries on 2.5 hectares from plants that will be planted at the end of the year. "Blueberries have a long commercial life and demand is on the up. Us producers have to keep into consideration the considerable production from Spain, Morocco and, most of all, Latin America. To be able to compete with these countries, we need to supply produce that is healthy and of high-quality in the winter months, when demand in Europe is sustained and prices are more profitable."
Preparation of blueberry plants
Giuseppe Santarcangelo, agronomist and berry field manager, provided an update on the harvesting calendar and management techniques. "Transplants are staggered for both crops to have a wider harvesting window. All crops are soilless and divided into lots of half an hectare. While blackberries are available 6 months a year, raspberries are available between October and June, so there is no gap."
The weather seems to have helped berries. "The high temperatures in October and November enabled us to obtain high quantities, which were shipped with no surplus problems."
"Chemical interventions are only carried out in the 10 days after a transplants to guarantee a better control of fungi. Then organic control is carried out. Useful insects and cultivation techniques respectful of the environment enable us to obtain zero residue produce."