26 Jun Solarelli Apricots, how quality is born
We are at the height of the apricot season, one of the most popular summer fruits for its unique flavor, freshness, easy consumption and goodness. But to say that an apricot is of high quality is not enough, we need to understand why.
Marco Brigliadori, technical manager of the Apofruit plant in Cesena and Longiano, follows the entire technical chain of the product which will become the Solarelli apricot, the quality brand of Apofruit producers that always guarantees a selection of fruits with extraordinary and constant organoleptic and taste characteristics over time.
“In order to pursue quality – declares Marco Brigliadori – the first factor is the varietal choice. Obviously there are proposals of all kinds by geneticists and nurserymen but the important thing is to choose with a clear strategy regarding the final quality. It takes a perfect balance between productivity and taste of the fruit in order to satisfy consumers and producers. The selection and evolution of the apricot tree cultivation has allowed us to have excellent products on the market from the end of May to the beginning of September. It is the case of theCot® apricots under the Solarelli brand, which has always been the quality guarantor of the Apofruit cooperative. In fact, the careful selection of producers and the search for the best products is the foundation of this great quality”.
The special Cot® varieties are selected by the Cot International Group and only cultivated in Italy, the ideal territory to obtain a premium and guaranteed quality. In addition to the COT®, Solarelli offers many other varieties of the same level, such as Orange Rubis, Faralia and Fabaly, each of which is selected and cultivated in the most suitable areas.
“But the varietal choice – continues Brigliadori – is not enough to obtain quality, other important factors are the agronomic management of the orchard, winter and green pruning and thinning, another key element to guarantee a premium product. There are also the health aspects – continues Brigliadori – that determine the quality of a fruit. At Apofruit, we follow the Integrated Production Specifications and all our associated producers receive the Apofruit Guide with advice on defense and fertilization. Then comes the harvesting phase, another crucial moment to determine the final quality of the product. The harvest is decided by the producers who daily follow the evolution of the orchards and understand when the time is right.
“Harvesting at the right time and in multiple steps, determines the final positive or negative result. If all the previous steps have been followed at the best level but the harvesting is wrong, all the previous work is thrown away. When delivering the apricots, product samples are taken and analyzed for all quality requirements, including the brix degree that determines the concentration of sugars in the fruit. Finally, there is the selection and packaging phase”.
“At Apofruit – continues Brigliadori – we have invested heavily on sorting machines.
We have a calibrator that selects the fruits by color and another latest generation machine that selects both by color and based on defects. The machine takes pictures of each fruit and identifies the defects by sorting the product according to the different qualities. The apricots are then packaged and brought to refrigerated temperature for storage before distribution.”
“To achieve quality – concludes Brigliadori – there is a complex process, which involves many factors. Of course, the quality of fruit products such as apricots is also closely linked to the climate, and there is little we can do in that regard. This year, we have a production of apricots below the standard, also due to the low temperatures that occurred during the pre-flowering/flowering phase. The delay in flowering and subsequent high temperatures have meant that the days between flowering and harvesting have been on average less than normal. For some varieties this can be an element leading to potential problems for the conservation and subsequent shelf-life of the product. Basically it is advisable to buy small quantities of product but more often, so as not to have to store it too long”.
The Solarelli apricots are grown by Apofruit associate producers in the most suitable areas to obtain the highest quality and are marketed exclusively in Italy with great success. The demand for apricots under the Solarelli brand is constantly growing, proving that the choice to focus on true quality pays off and creates a client base that is loyal over the years.