Quality is the keyword at this family business from Palagiano, it is granted by experience in farming, but also by a meticulous and continuous handmade selection.
The Campobasso family has managed to reach a niche position on the main national markets, defending it despite the higher and higher production costs, which are necessary to grant an essentially “artisanal” management of the farming of clementines.
Palagiano, an Apulian town in the Taranto province, is known for the fertility of its soil and for its mild climate. It is an ideal location for the growing of clementines, a citrus fruit that in this area reaches such high levels of quality that it deserved the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Gulf of Taranto Clementine trademark. Francesco Campobasso portrays an anomaly in the area. His company offers a product of very high content, made with attention to detail, with a peculiarity: it offers only clementines. The commercialization occurs through sales to only 4 wholesale markets in Northern Italy (Bologna, Milan, Brescia and Verona). The final customers are restaurant owners, specialized retailers, “fruit boutiques”: high and steady quality from November to February. The piece-by-piece control allows to have closed to perfect results. Non-automated processing systems lead to costs that are higher than the market average.
The varieties used by the farm are Spinoso, Fedele and Comune, rigorously without seeds. The main varietal novelties are under observation, so that they can eventually be “promoted” and spread on a larger scale. The goal is to offer the best to consumers, especially from the flavour point of view. For what concerns flavour, this variety and the main ones of the Taranto citrus fruit farming, fear no rivals in terms of organoleptic characteristics. The secret lays in an accurate one-to-one picking at the right moment. Quality demands thin peel, intense colour, up to an orange-red tone, right sugar/acids ratio. The size becomes a secondary aspect that not always represents the best characteristics: with the first colds and abundant showers, the peel tends to detach, starting exactly from the bigger sized clementines. The company produces an average of 700 tons of product per year, with highs of 1000, almost 50 tons per hectare. Every tree produces up to 171 kilograms of clementines that are actually commercialized, with average variations of 80 to 150 kilos.
THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PGI TRADEMARK
Despite the extremely high quality of the produced and sold clementines, Azienda Campobasso does not make use of the PGI Gulf of Taranto Clementines trademark. The Campobasso company brand has an already well-established image and customers would not understand thoroughly the worth of a PGI. The qualitative and commercial standards of this company’s clementines exceed extensively the ones required by PGI.