The trend for the main references at the Vittoria Fruit and Vegetable Market marks a slight but gradual decline in prices. Prices have been declining for about ten days now, but without discouraging the operators excessively because we have to consider that we are in mid to late May. A more detailed explanation of what is happening has been provided by Giorgio Puccia, an experienced fruit and vegetable commissioner.
"We are now at a time of the year when prices are usually low on average, if not very low, for all references regardless," said Puccia, "So if quotations are not as high as they have been until recently, you have to get over it. Even if prices are still quite satisfactory for tomatoes, the reference that stands out above all is the bell pepper, with quotations ranging from 2.50 to 2.80 €/kg for the yellow crop and 2.00 to 2.40 €/kg for the red one. We are, of course, talking about the 1/3-long bell pepper type, which is mostly sought after by the domestic market. Other types of this vegetable are not produced here, except for the cornetto and some others but for less important volumes, the bell pepper (square bell pepper) grown in Spain for the Netherlands, Great Britain, and elsewhere is certainly not produced in Sicily."
"It is a downward trend for tomatoes," explained Puccia, "with all segments experiencing a slow but inexorable decline for the past couple of weeks. On the other hand, we are in May, as I said before, and despite the price drop, we cannot say that things are going too bad. We have to consider that prices fluctuate, for the same reference, even considerably, because some batches are from late crop residues, and others from early harvests with a visibly fresh and aesthetically much better product. Another distinction is by variety. Those that are more commodity-like have reached the end of the long winter cycle. These, albeit not considered to be tasteful, nevertheless have all the characteristics to be exported abroad, ticking a certainly more attractive price. On the contrary, the new batches for the short summer cycle have prevailing characteristics in terms of flavor but have a shorter shelf life, remaining in Italy at a lower price."
"Pricing, in short, takes into account multiple factors that are not limited by these words of mine," clarified the specialist, "but are complex, articulated, and susceptible to contingent moments, such as the current one, which is transitional, as I explained. At the moment, cherries, unless they change in the morning, are quoted at 1.50 to 2.00 €/kg; cluster tomatoes 1.00 to 1.50 €/kg; dates 1.80 to 2.80 €/kg; midi plum 1.50 to 1.80 €/kg. The eggplant has not seen very good quotations for quite some time now and is generally between 0.40- and 0.60-euro cents. Finally, it is worth mentioning the courgette, which is currently an unavailable item."