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Italy: "Choosing the right variety is crucial to the companies' succes"

The Cocktail Plum tomato variety represents a substantial segment of the table tomato production in Italy. Because of climate change – with rather sudden temperature oscillations – and plant diseases, it is becoming increasingly urgent to farm varieties better suited for modern horticulture.

Rocco, Lino and Salvatore Piscopo

We visited the Azienda Agricola Piscopo in order to better understand this tomato variety. The company is located in the heart of the Sicilian tomato farming area.

Cocktail Plum, a highly demanded tomato
Rocco Piscopo is the owner of the company together with his brothers Ivan, Lino and Marco. He said, “Our company has a half-century-long history. Our fields extend for 100,000 sqm, and they are entirely devoted to tomatoes. Previously, we produced tomatoes for the most diverse segments as well. With the introduction of the Maraskino on the markets, we decided to focus on the Cocktail Plum (with 40,000 sqm). After a testing period, we are extremely happy today."

Maraskino is a Seminis variety. 

" The Maraskino in one of the company's greenhouses

The producer explained, “We have always pursued research and innovation because we wanted to find the outstanding variety. And we hit the spot with this Cocktail Plum. Our company is in a perfect position within the Sicilian horticultural area: on the one hand, it is close to the sea, and on the other hand, the Biviere lake is nearby, as well. Additionally, we are fortunate for having an irrigation water with high electric conductivity (around 6000 µS). This contributes to the tomato saltiness and its high Brix degree”.

Piscopo continued, “The Maraskino lends itself to both summer and winter cycles. We indeed work during both periods with excellent result. This tomato looks really nice as well, which is always much appreciated by the retailers to whom we sell our produce."

The post-harvest durability
Rocco continued, “Our choice was influenced by the fact that this variety has both a high productivity and excellent size. The cluster is uniform and elegant, and we found that it has a good post-harvest durability. That is why the Cocktail Plum is perfect to farm in our fields – considering also the shipping time which every Sicilian produce is subjected to reach European markets

Additionally to the characteristics just described by Rocco Piscopo, this variety is resistant to most of the plant diseases in Sicily. "Once again it is showing how Choosing the right variety is crucial to a companies' succes." 

The owner concluded, “Recently, we have started farming the San Marzano tomato. We expect to add it to our offer. Furthermore, considering the dimension of our company, we have been thinking for a while about the direct marketing of our products. That is why we are going to acquire the required certifications soon, and we are also going to create a website to showcase the uniqueness of our produce”.

Azienda Agricola Piscopo
Via Basilicata, 48
93015 Niscemi (CL)
Tel: +39 3339160527

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