FLAVIA * strawberry variety: the testimony of two producers in the policoro area

26 March 2020
Salvatore Santorsola: “Vigorous, rustic, tolerant to plant disease. Bright-colored fruits. It deserves to be known"
Agostino Oliveto: “Excellent productivity. The fruit quality remains high even at high temperatures. It shows a very promising commercial potential!
Many companies are testing with great interest the varieties patented by CIV, in particular the cultivar named “Flavia*”, characterized by early ripening, mid-vigor, fruits that are external to the foliage therefore easy to harvest, high resistance to powdery mildew and to leaf and root diseases in general, excellent flavor, very sweet, with low acidity and high percentage of extra quality fruit. Being suitable for replanting practices in exhausted soils by intense and repeated strawberry cultivation, it has shown good adaptability to organic farming and / or low-impact agronomic techniques.
The CIV asked two producers from Policoro for a first-hand testimony. The two producers are located in the Basilicata region, particularly in the area of Policoro, a highly specialized area accounting for 1.000 hectares of strawberries.
The first producer, Salvatore Santorsola, has decided this year to cultivate for the first time in his family business the Flavia* strawberry variety, which he had been already monitoring and observing in the last recent years, in his parallel activity as agronomist technical consultant in various local farms. Santorsola currently has 34,000 plants in production. “The Flavia* variety proves to be a vigorous variety that quickly reaches a balanced growth in both vegetative and productive terms, guaranteeing an early and constant fruiting. The variety expresses a good adaptability to different and not always optimal soil and climatic conditions, confirming to be a valid choice, if we consider the heterogeneity of our soils and the anomalous climatic trend of the last years", says Santorsola. About the plant physiology, he adds: “The architecture of the plant is characterized by an optimal spatial arrangement of the epigean organs, thus enabling an optimal light interception, good aeration, easy harvesting operations and, last but not least, the efficiency of leaf treatments. These factors, combined with a wild-rustic growth habit, reduce the incidence of fruit rottenness phenomena and more generally of the main fungal diseases", he says in regard to disease susceptibility”.
He continues then reporting his experience on the fruit quality: “the fruit, with a scarlet red in color, is particularly bright because of the sunken achenes. The fruit aesthetic qualities persist for several days after the harvest. Furthermore, we should mention the ability of this variety to achieve uniform fruit coloring even at the beginning of the harvest season, when low temperatures hinder ripening”.
The agronomist then focuses on the fruit shape and on flesh firmness: "The shape is truncated conical, the size medium-large. Shape and size are almost uniform throughout the season. The extremely firm flesh facilitates the handling of the fruit during the harvesting operations". The commercial potential is very promising: "The uniformity of size and the morphological regularity of the fruits facilitate the marketing of  Flavia* in different types of packaging. This is an important aspect given the different requests from the Italian customers in terms of packaging preferences. The flesh texture helps to determine an excellent shelf-life able to satisfy particularly demanding commercial destinations. The early fruit harvested already show high organoleptic quality, thus guaranteeing competitive prices since the beginning of the commercial season, which normally a period in which the supply is generally low in qualitative and quantitative terms. These factors, added to an overall and constant mid-high fruit quality, appreciated by the vast majority of the customers in terms of taste, place the Flavia* strawberry in the medium-high range segment. Its only limitation to date is that it is not yet well known by operators in the sector! ".
Another testimony is that of the producer Agostino Oliveto, who has already produced the Flavia* strawberry variety for three consecutive years exploiting the replanting technique, without having any negative effect on the productivity and fruit quality. As a matter of fact, the Flavia* variety, like many CIV varieties, is resistant to radical fungal diseases and needs little nitrogen to grow. Oliveto gives us further confirmation regarding the rusticity of the plant, the architecture that facilitates harvesting by reducing its costs per fruit weight unit, the arrangement of the foliage which, although vigorous, does not cause shading and guarantees constant and uninterrupted production, if well managed. Agostino states as for the yield “Total productivity is good and is around 800 grams. Normally, the first harvest occurs in an early period, in the first two weeks of January, with 10-15 grams/plant ". As regards the quality of the fruit, Agostino confirms its medium-large size, its uniformity of shape, its bright red color and firm and crunchy flesh." Finally, another very interesting aspect: "Even at high temperatures, such as at the beginning of May, where in most cases the fruit quality of most varieties begins to deteriorate, the Flavia* variety maintains top quality!"


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