Massimo Gambuzza is the technical and marketing manager for the Azienda Giudice Martina Franca, “We can count on a covered surface of 16 hectares. Thanks to this, our company is one of the most important in the basil production sector in Sicily. We have grown by 4 hectares in only 2 years – as a demonstration of the quality of our produce”.
“The fields are very sandy and provides an excellent drainage thus facilitating the irrigation management. Since the beginning, we provided the company with all those production processes which have allowed us to get the GlobalGAP and the GRASP certifications. The greenhouses are very technologically advanced, and they are equipped with the most recent technologies such as ventilation and heating systems and fertirrigation implants”.
You can see the LED illuminating the basil greenhouses. They are turned on for 4 hours during the night and then turned off 1 hour before the dawn. The lights are on here just for demonstration.
Gambuzza explains, “Our basil grows in one of the best micro-climates in Sicily. Our varietal selections tend towards typologies with superior aromatic quality. Also, they need to resist to the transportation, to the conservation, to the low temperatures and to the oxidation that occurs during the post-harvest. We follow the most rigid production regulations thus ensuring the well-being and the healthiness of the crops. That is why we can provide aromatic herbs throughout the year. The post-harvest thermal treatment systems allow keeping the produce in good conditions, even during the next phases.”
The company’s produce is destined exclusively to business customers which market and ship our basil in baskets, bags and trays. The produce is packaged in 2 and a half kg boxes (30x50x22) with a freshness-saving bag for food use. During winter months, we add a cover in order to prevent the excessive humidity from affecting the produce. The pallet consists of 80 boxes for a total weight of 200 kg.
Gambuzza continues, “Some of our greenhouses are equipped with a light system with red and blue LEDs. This technology is aimed at maximising the stimulation of the chlorophyll function. In this way, we prolong the light-period during the winter season when there is less availability of Sunlight. The artificial lights are turned on for 4 hours in the morning and for 4 hours in the evening – one hour before dusk. In this way, we try to reproduce the summer weather which is the best for basil farming.
The company has recently introduced mint farming over one hectare of a greenhouse. The other three hectares in open field are devoted to wild fennel – destined to fresh market and the industry.
“The trend is growing for the mint, the fennel as well as for the basil. Our produce is much appreciated by Italian markets. That is why we ship 100% of our produce to them”.