Florida-Beauty strawberries currently being tested in Metaponto

"This year, our experiment with the early strawberry variety Florida-Beauty started in the Metaponto area as well. It is a cultivar selected by the University of Florida for which Viveros California, i.e. one of the leading Spanish nurseries on the European continent, holds the multiplication licence," explains Michele D'arino, agronomist at Fe.Vi. Group, part of the Terre della Luce PO.

"This variety is around 15 days earlier than Fortuna. Plants are more rustic, collapse less and are suitable for soil-less cultivation. Fruits are rounder and smaller, while Brix levels hover around 7. As for the shelf-life and other agronomic characteristics, there is not much we can say at the moment, as this is the first year the variety is being grown in our area."

"Five companies chose to introduce Florida-Beauty, covering 8 hectares in total. Plants were transplanted in early September and harvesting started last week and will last until late February. The campaign is rather long and will peak between December and January. Fruits have an excellent texture, flavor and aroma, which though cannot be compared with the unique Candonga strawberries.

Shipping manager Maria Ferrara reports that "prices are similar to those of Fortuna strawberries because quality is similar. The average is €11 for 2 kg basket boxes. We are mainly working with markets in northern Italy such as Milan, Treviso, Bologna, Rimini, Udine and Vicenza. Demand is good and supply will increase over the next few weeks. We are pleased with the fact that consumers favor strawberries from Basilicata even though quotations are not that low."

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