Difficult moments sometimes lead to great ideas, and solutions for problems are mostly found reacting in a timely manner and with the courage to change direction. This is what lies behind the new range of red and yellow cherry tomato products launched by the Italian company Italo's Farmer. "The sauce range was created in the summer of 2020, when the closure of some sales channels caused by the pandemic made it almost impossible to place the surplus of fresh produce," Giuseppe Cilio says.
Truly unique flavor
The company is located Santa Croce Camerina (RG), an area with the Hyblaean mountains to the north-east and the Mediterranean Sea to the south-east. "The characteristics of the soil, irrigation waters, sunlight and winds make the flavor of the produce truly unique," Giuseppe says. On its 20 hectares of protected crops, Italo's Farmer produces: red and yellow plum, Piccadilly and cherry tomatoes; round, oblong, streaked and white eggplants; red, yellow and green bell peppers.
Their fresh produce is placed in appealing packages, such as Italo’s Shaker (photo below), a clear cup containing small tomatoes perfect for a quick healthy snack. 35% of the Italo's Farmer production is destined abroad to Northern Europe and the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Great Britain and Iceland in particular.
Turn them into sauces
But when the European hospitality sector shut down because of the corona outbreak, the sales channels of Italo's Farmer fell away. "We could not decide not to harvest the produce, so we decided to turn our red cherry, yellow cherry and plum tomatoes into sauces," recalls Giuseppe Cilio, founder and CEO of Italo's Farmer.
The red and yellow sauces are made by the company's processing plant using 100% tomatoes. They are available in 300 and 360g glass bottles. The classic red tomato sauce is instead available in dark glass bottles.
"We obtained around 100 thousand bottles, which we filled with a classic Sicilian caponata made with our own eggplants. This product is acquired by specialized channels in both Italy and northern Europe."
Thanks to the collaboration with chef Simone Rugiati, Italo's Farmer promotes its local products using original recipes through dedicated channels.
"Agriculture is going through a complex period due to a series of factors, which include market placement. Just like for the fresh produce, it is in fact not always easy to explain that quality has its price when it comes to premium processed products as well. In our case, the good quality/price ratio means we can sell our products via the big retail chain (discount chains excluded). We like to be considered a reliable brand that stands out for the flavor of the raw materials and original solutions. I believe that, in order to obtain market margins, agriculture must innovate."