18 Jun 2024

Sustainability and Quality Lead VIP's New Mountain Strawberries and Berries Campaign


Sustainability and quality are the watchwords for the new campaign of mountain strawberries and berries offered by the VIP Consortium. This year's harvest, beginning this week, is expected to bring about 420 tons of mountain strawberries, slightly more than last year. VIP cultivates a robust 15 different varieties, but Elsanta and Aprica stand out, covering 60% of the total production, due to their ability to meet consumer needs in terms of flavor, appearance, and shelf-life.

From the end of June, VIP also anticipates a significant harvest of other berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and red currants, with an estimated total of about 60 tons.

Innovative Table-Top Cultivation

The cultivation method adopted by VIP is yielding benefits in terms of sustainability and quality. "We use a special substrate instead of traditional soil, placed on wooden supports we call 'tables'", explains Alessio Rizzon, strawberry and berries sales manager. This technique allows for optimized irrigation and fertilization, minimizing resource waste and improving production efficiency.

This practice not only protects the environment, but also ensures more control over fruit ripening, increases yield per square meter, and guarantees cleaner, higher quality fruits, thanks to more ergonomic harvesting. "We are planning to expand this method from 35% to 50% of our cultivation areas in the coming years," adds Rizzon.

A Unique Environment for Superior Quality

The mountain strawberries and berries of VIP grow in Val Martello, part of the Stelvio National Park. Here, the cool air from Mount Cevedale promotes slow ripening, giving the fruits a distinctive taste. The altitude of the production areas, ranging from 900 to 1700 meters, ensures excellent quality throughout the season.

The climatic benefits, coupled with the adept management of local farmers, yield a high-quality product, harvested at the perfect time to preserve its flavor and aroma. Additionally, all surfaces dedicated to strawberry cultivation are covered by tunnels, protecting them from the elements.

Innovation in Processing and Packaging

The processing of strawberries and berries takes place at the MEG cooperative in Val Martello, which has recently been updated with two new packaging lines to meet increasing demand. The packaging also adheres to environmental sustainability standards, using trays of 250 grams made from 100% recycled material. Distribution covers 20% in South Tyrol and 80% in the rest of Italy, through a variety of channels including organized large-scale retail and wholesale fruit and vegetable markets.

With these initiatives, VIP demonstrates its commitment to sustainable and high-quality production, attentive to both market needs and environmental protection.

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