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Citrus District of Sicily – a network of quality producers

The Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world.

An increasing number of wholesalers and operators in the fruit and vegetable markets are seeking out Italian fruit, due to the sentiment and identity bound up with certainty about its geographical origin, guaranteed by its PDO and PGI certificates and its quality, and also because they realise that Italian consumers are willing to buy citrus fruit when they know it comes from Sicily.

Synergies are needed to promote the excellent quality of Sicilian agri-food products at every level, as this is probably the only way to make more space for the firms in this value chain and improve their returns. Founded in 2011, the Citrus District of Sicily is the first ground-breaking consortium formed in the region to create synergy between private marketing and processing companies, along with local authorities and the farming world. The district, chaired since its foundation by agronomist Federica Argentati, represents over 2,000 sector members and over 21,000 ha of orchards and has an annual turnover of over €400 million.

Discussing upcoming strategies, Argentati believes it is necessary for the district to also become a monitoring authority for citrus production in Sicily, since it is currently almost impossible to gain clear knowledge of the volumes produced, as the information sent is often incomplete or confused, with reports often even contradicting each other. “To be more competitive, we need to know about the production volumes in real-time, as well as the quality of our products,” Argentati said.

Image source: ‘Sicilian citrus fruits. A day in the island of the sun.’ video

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EU gives nod to ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus PDO

Dutch ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus - famed for having a soft, mild, slightly salty flavour with little or no bitterness - is now covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the same name.

Slightly salty and very rarely bitter, the clear white Dutch ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus is now covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the same name.

Registered by the European Commission on February 17, the PDO covers this asparagus grown over about 40ha in the ‘Brabantse Wal’, located in the southwestern corner of North Brabant, a province in the central south of mainland Netherlands.

The length of the asparagus varies between 20-24 cm and is placed on the market with 3 gradings in class 1 according to its thickness. In order to guarantee quality, freshness and the regional link of the asparagus, once harvested it must be refrigerated at 4°C within four hours.

The application says this asparagus is sold to consumers and the catering trade in different units of weight: unpeeled in plastic sacks or peeled in sealed plastic trays.

“ ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ have a soft, mild flavour with little or no bitterness. The initial taste varies from salty to slightly sweet in some cases. Their refined aroma, with no dominant notes, allows them to be prepared in many different ways and used as an ingredient in a wide range of dishes. It is this taste that distinguishes ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ from other asparagus,” it says.

Read the application here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/door/registeredName.html?denominationId=10051

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PDO for France’s ‘Abricots rouges du Roussillon’ apricots

The geographic area for apricots under the ‘Abricots rouges du Roussillon’ PDO is located in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, the southernmost region of mainland France.

France’s red-speckled apricots – ‘Abricots rouges du Roussillon’ – now have their own Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

The new PDO was registered by the European Commission on February 16.

According to the PDO application filed last April, the defined geographic area for apricots under the ‘Abricots rouges du Roussillon’ PDO is located in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, the southernmost region of mainland France.

This part of France is described as like the arena of a vast amphitheatre facing east towards the Mediterranean sea and drawn up by the Corbières to the North, the foothills of the Canigou Massif to the west and the Albera Massif to the south. The Roussillon climate is strongly affected by its proximity to the sea in the east and by the mountains surrounding the entire geographic area, the application says. Apricot trees were introduced by the Arabs and have existed in the geographic area for more than 10 centuries.

‘Abricots rouges du Roussillon’ are distinguished by:

  • an apricot coloured skin with (characteristic) vivid red speckles. They are distinct from ‘two-tone’ apricots where the orange and red colours are mixed together, with no distinct colour boundaries;
  • a small to average size, with a diameter of 35-55 mm. They have a soft texture and sweet taste. Their sugar level is over 12° Brix. They are juicy, melt in the mouth, quite soft and with low acidity which gives an impression of sweetness, and smell strongly of fresh fruit (peach/nectarine) and apricot juice.

More information here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/door/publishedName.html?denominationId=14700&locale=en