Under Sicily’s sun – Visiting the BioTropic suppliers

A pleasant and mild island climate and suppliers who were without exception hospitable awaited the visitors on the trip in mid-May organised by BioTropic. The group of 12 travellers consisted of fruit and vegetable buyers from the wholesalers EBL, Grell, Ökoring, Rinklin and Terra -- and also included an employee from the Danish supplier of fruit and veg boxes, Aarstiderne. The group was made up with six employees of BioTropic from its offices in Germany, France, The Netherlands and Italy.

After landing in Catania, the trip initially travelled in a southerly direction towards Floridia. That is where the 'Floridia Agrumi di Failla Concetta' family-run business is operated. Lemons, (blood) oranges and grapefruit gave off their intensive aroma in the groves.

In the following days, more fruit and vegetable growers were visited. The next stop was Ispica, in order to make the acquaintance of the 'Natursi' business run by three brothers. They mostly grow courgettes, potatoes and carrots. In the washing plant and packing facilities, the visitors watched fennel, carrots and aubergines being washed and packed.

The fertile soil south of Catania makes it possible to grow many different crops and this means that most of the growers visited by us also grow many other fruits as well: they grow everything from organic apricots to organic courgettes. Consequently the organic growers are able to maintain their crop rotation, at the same time by expanding their product range they are able to offer stable employment to their employees.

The visitors then went on to Cassibile in the vicinity of Syracuse. There Chiara Lo Bianco at the family-run business 'Biosikelia Lo Bianco' showed their seasonal produce: red peppers, carrots and juicy Charantais and Magenta melons.

A few kilometres further on in Ispica is where the haulier 'Eurotir' is based. The tropical fruit is transported from there to BioTropic in Germany. The group of travellers were shown the various stages from goods inward to loading.

On the following day the group stopped off in Chiaramonte Gulfi. The small community north of Ragusa is dependent upon agriculture for making a living. That is where the 'Agrobiologica' co-operative is located, whose members have concentrated on the production of grapes and tomatoes. During the hot summer months when most suppliers take time off, that is when the fruits typical of Sicily are exported.

The next and final stop is Marina di Ragusa, a small place next to the sea. There the visitors saw the 'Sapori Bio' co-operative. Here too there was a wide range of produce: (cherry) tomatoes, courgettes, red peppers, aubergines -- these are just some of the large selection of produce.

Informative insights into organic farming in Sicily, friendly suppliers, cultural diversity and splendid southern vegetation made a lasting impression. We should be pleased to go there again!

You can find a detailed travel report here (PDF)

Text by Visnja Malesic
Photos by Ramona Eykeln

Tags: Agrobiologica (GB), Apricots (GB), Aubergines (GB), Blood oranges (GB), Cherry tomatoes (GB), Chiara Lo Bianco (GB), Fennel (GB), Floridia Agrumi (GB), Grapefruit (GB), Italy (GB), Potatoes (GB), Melons (GB), Carrots (GB), Naturkost Grell (GB), Natursi (GB), Ökoring (GB), Oranges (GB), Peppers (GB), Rinklin (GB), Sapori Bio (GB), Terra Naturkost (GB), Tomatoes (GB), Grapes (GB), Lemons (GB), Courgettes (GB)

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