"We focus on nursery gardening and the production of vegetables in a protected environment. Thanks to Italo's Farmer, a start-up created in 2016, our activities are more varied. We decided to transfer our know-how within a modern and dynamic commercialization project that aims at intercepting clients looking for high-quality and that pays attention to the needs of modern consumers," explained brothers Giuseppe and Vincenzo Cilio.
In the photo, Giuseppe Cilio, founder and CEO of Italo's Farmer, chef Simone Rugiati and Vincenzo Cilio, founder and logistic manager.
"Our family already had extensive experience in the agricultural field, and we came up with the idea of creating an innovative brand capable of conquering the foreign markets with a range of premium fresh and processed products from the Sicilian horticultural tradition."
The company is located in Santa Croce Camerina (RG), an area with the Hyblaean Mountains to the north-east and the Mediterranean sea to the south-east. Thanks to the characteristics of the soil, irrigation water, sunshine and wind, this territory makes the flavor of the horticultural products truly unique.
Italo's Farmer covers 20 hectares of protected crops producing plum, Piccadilly and red and yellow cherry tomatoes; round, oblong, streaked and white eggplants as well as red, yellow and green bell peppers.
The leading products are cherry tomatoes - processed between December and June with yields of 110 tons/ha - and round eggplants (November to mid-June) with yields of around 170 ton/ha.
More specifically, Italo's Farmer grows the Chiringuito and Creativo tomato varieties: their long shelf-life and resistance to cracking and handling meet the needs of the big retail chain, restaurant, catering and e-commerce channels, while their quality meets consumer expectations.
In the photo, Giuseppe Cilio.
Italo's Farmer grows resistant cherry tomato varieties. Plants are balanced, with uniform round berries with a bright red color, high Brix level and a good acidity-sugar ratio. The prolonged shelf-life make the fruits in line with the need for a diversified supply.
The company covers approximately 2,000 sq m and boasts processing lines and refrigeration units suitable to process large quantities.
All cherry tomatoes are available in different packaging formats to meet different market needs: 3, 4 and 5 kg, 10x500 gr PET, 10×500 gr. flowpack, 9×250 gr PET, 9×250 gr flowpack, stick 300 gr flowpack, shaker 250 gr in pots. The design conveys the image of a niche speciality, accompanied by a considerable communication campaign for the information channels of reference.
"Demand is high for our Sicilian products, although they feel the pressure of similar productions of other origin - Spain, Morocco and the Netherlands in particular. Nonetheless, we are growing as a company and we have grown by 100% in 2018," explained Giuseppe Cilio.
"We are currently focused on increasing our foreign turnover by promoting Italian products all over the world. At the moment, we are being affected by the pandemic and the closure of the H&R sector. However families are eating more at home so, compared to 2019, sales have increased by 15%. The turnover is stable, considering that our products have a good quality/price ratio while providing fair returns to operators."
35% of Italo's Farmer turnover is made abroad, especially in the Netherlands, which acts as a sorting center shipping produce all over Europe and to some extra-EU countries (Singapore and Hong Kong). Over there, Italo's Farmer products (which hold the IFS, Grasp and GlobalGAP certifications) are present especially in the big retail chain.
"We aim at reaching the international luxury restaurant circuit. We believe that, in order to make ambitious dreams come true, it takes passion, hard work and, most of all, the capability of transforming criticalities in opportunities. This is what we have done with the red cherry, yellow cherry and red plum tomato sauce range, which we are placing within Italian and northern-European specialized channels also thanks to online sales."