Early cherry blossoms spark industry adaptation amid climate concerns

Early cherry blossoms spark industry adaptation amid climate concerns

cherry Puglia
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cherry Puglia

Recent mild temperatures have prompted an early awakening among stone fruit trees, including cherries, in Puglia, Italy. FreshPlaza caught up with Ignazio Tateo, proprietor of Tateo Srl in Turi (Bari). Their operation spans 150 hectares across their own and partner orchards, yielding a total of 1500 tons of cherries.

Tateo notes, “We’re about a week ahead of schedule here in Puglia, with buds beginning to sprout. By month’s end, we anticipate all trees will have blossomed. Certain pockets within our region, like those north of Bari or coastal areas, are witnessing even further advancement, thanks to the recent introduction of extra-early varieties alongside the traditional ones typically found southeast of Bari.”

Regarding the adequacy of chill hours this year, Tateo expresses concern: “Winter has been unseasonably warm, with prolonged periods of above-average temperatures. We’ve seen a scarcity of chill hours, which isn’t ideal for cherries. Any deviation in weather patterns could potentially disrupt or negate the advantage we’ve gained thus far. However, if these conditions persist throughout the season, it could mean an earlier-than-expected market arrival for our cherries.”

He adds, “The ongoing impact of climate change reinforces the need for us to explore and source high-quality products from various avenues. As cherry producers and traders, we’re forging valuable partnerships with international breeders like Bloom Fresh, who are introducing new self-fertile cherry varieties with reduced chill hour requirements. We plan to evaluate these cultivars over the coming year before proceeding with initial plantings.”

Source: FreshPlaza

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