Apricots and cherries from the fruit garden of Italy

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Apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries – BioTropic is getting its first European stone fruits from its producers in Italy. Due to the geographic location of Sicily, the fruits are generally ready to harvest 2 to 3 weeks earlier than in other regions located further north. The Italian stone fruit season generally runs from the end of April into September.

Just as they do every year shortly before the harvest, our colleagues Andrea Haas and Mauro Finotti paid a visit to our producers in Italy’s southern boot heel. By the end of April, they had visited a total of 7 producers in the regions of Apulia, Campania and Basilicata. Andrea Haas introduces two of the producers:

Vito Polignano
ABA mediterranea, an important producer of BioTropic Italy, is located in the commune of Ginosa in the region of Apulia. Together with ABA Managing Director Enzo Santoro, we visited the member azienda (or business) of Vito Polignano. His cultivation areas, which are surrounded by stonewalls – so typical for the region –, are located in the gently rolling landscape, slightly further inland. The sun-kissed Mediterranean climate and the good ventilation provide optimal conditions for the cultivation of the sensitive stone fruits. The business of Polignano comprises a total of 17 ha of surface area over which he cultivates cherries, almonds and apricots.

The first cherries have already been picked in his groves – it is the early variety “Bigarreau”, which captivates with its fresh appearance and is deliciously tasty, just like all white-heart cherries. Later sweet cherry varieties, such as “Giorgia” and “Ferrovia”, can also be found there. This means that Polignano will be able to supply BioTropic with cherries until mid-June.

The cultivation of stone fruits is demanding – employees have to work carefully on the organic plantations. The knowledge of pruning measures at the correct period of time makes a significant contribution to preserving resistant and robust plants.

To ensure that the cherries end up in the customers’ kitchens intact, ABA mediterranea supply them in a practical carry bag... that is, of course, if the customers don’t start nibbling the cherries on their way home…

Frencesco Montanara
Another Apulian partner business of ABA mediterranea is located in the proximity of Palagiano, approximately 15km away from the sea. That is where the Azienda agricola of Francesco Montanara is located.

He cultivates the following fruits: peaches (harvest from the end of May), nectarines (from June) and Saturn peaches (from August). The total size of the business comprises 52 ha, the majority of which is taken up by average and late grape varieties.

During the tour around the peach and nectarine plantations, we see healthy plants, which are already yielding good amounts of fruit. We feel the fresh sea air blow over us now and again. If the climatic conditions continue to remain positive, everything points to a good harvest this year.

We also had a close look at the Saturn peaches – often known as vineyard peaches in Germany. The white fruit pulp is particularly juicy and has an incredibly intense aroma and flavour.
Over an area of approximately 1.5 ha, Francesco cultivates a very particular vineyard peach variety, the “Flat Princess” – a late variety and delicious rarity, which will broaden our range of stone fruits from August.

Text: Andrea Haas, Visnja Malesic
Pictures: BioTropic GmbH
As of: June 2016

 

Tags: ABA Mediterranea (GB), Andrea Haas (GB), Apricots (GB), Italy (GB), Cherries (GB), Almonds (GB), Mauro Finotti (GB), Nectarines (GB), Peaches (GB), Stone fruit (GB)

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