First part of a satisfactory campaign for Romagna lettuces , which have been harvested in the open for about two months . The frost in early spring and the cold in April and May did not cause damage to crops, but caused a slowdown in harvesting by reducing the supply available.
“The campaign got off to a better start than the 2020 debut. The cold spring made the products grow slowly and so we sold almost all the harvested goods without any particular problems”, Massimo Tufo, owner of the Tufo Agricultural Company , stresses to Italiafruit News.
I Sapori Della Natura – member of the Agribologna Consortium – which produces salads on about 60 hectares in San Mauro Pascoli, in the province of Forlì-Cesena.
“The quality of all the lettuce looks good, while the prices have dropped just in the last 10 days in the face of the arrival of warmer temperatures that have crowded the transplants a bit. In my opinion, the market values should improve in the coming weeks, given that the volumes to be collected are not very many “.
Among the various types, the growing interest of the Italian market for Iceberg , by far the most sought-after lettuce according to Tufo, is confirmed . “We are also noticing that the Gentilina , thanks to its practicality, is acquiring more and more space at the expense of the Trocadero . Gentilina is in fact a practical salad both for those who produce it and for those who trade it. The consumer likes it because it stays fresh longer ”.
As for the oak leaf segment , “the question seems to be proceeding a bit slow. The reason is that hotels and restaurants, that is to say the main buyers of oak leaves, have not yet gotten into the workforce ”. In the meantime, the celery campaign also started at the end of May . A product that the Tufo company cultivates on about ten hectares. “The sale is going well. What scares us this year is the drought in general . Although it is only June, we are already seeing a drop in the water table in the less water-rich areas . In August there could be problems if it doesn’t rain, both for celery and lettuce ”.
The Iceberg lettuce producers of San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena) are thinking of IGP . The idea of starting a common path to obtain European certification is supported by several local companies, including the Tufo Agricultural Company – I Sapori Della Natura , which has been specializing for over 40 years in the cultivation and marketing of first-rate salads and celery.
“In San Mauro Pascoli, Iceberg lettuce boasts a history of more than thirty years. And among the few producers in the area and the Agribologna Consortium, of which we are members, a sort of non-formal collaboration has been established to try to reach the goal of Igp within 2 or 3 years “, entrepreneur Massimo Tufo explains to Italiafruit News .
For this season, the Tufo company, certified Global Gap and Qc Emilia Romagna, has allocated about fifty hectares in the open field (all located in the Romagna municipality) to the cultivation of Iceberg, trocadero and gentilina salads and celery.
“Lettuces is, together with celery , our flagship product – specifies the owner – In these days we are engaged in soil preparation activities . Our transplant program, which started at the beginning of February, will allow us to carry out the first harvests in mid-April or, perhaps, even earlier, if the mild winter continues ”.
The harvest then usually continues for seven consecutive months ending in November. “For this year we hope not to have to witness a particularly rainy and humid spring like that of 2020, the consequences of which on the quality of the products had lasted until July”.
From a commercial point of view, the Tufo company distributes about 70% of its first range products both packaged and loose in the wholesale market channel , working mainly with the structures of Northern and Central Italy (Florence, Bologna, Rimini, Milan, Treviso, etc.). The remaining share, 30%, is instead placed in large- scale distribution stores , through the network of the Agribologna Consortium.
“We have been partners of Agribologna for more than 20 years. We are delighted with this choice and with the work we are carrying out with the Consortium itself. There are still many doors that, in our opinion, we can open for Romagna’s lettuces and celery. We strongly believe, in particular, in the development of branded packaged products “.