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The land where lemons grow


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Lemons and oranges range among Italy’s largest fruit crops. They are not only an important part of Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean diet, but they also form an important element of the country’s economy. “Lemons are such a versatile fruit found in many authentic Italian recipes, both sweet and savoury, and, likewise, lemons are widely used for drinks. Most lemon trees grow in the south of Italy, in Sicily, for instance, and, depending on the soil, their flavour can range from tangy to sweet,” explains Antonino Villari, Managing Director of Agro Fruit SRL and a member of the Villari family that founded the company in a little town near Messina in the 1970s.

“Our company has its origin in sunny Sicily, and it was my father Attilio Villari who started to grow and market oranges and lemons commercially. We are proud of our family tradition and now aim to elevate our group of companies to the next level of organisation and internationalisation.”

Two generations later, in 2000, the company shifted its business focus to the province of Brescia in northern Italy where Agro Fruits was founded. Today, it is subsidiary of the Sicily-based Villari Group, a leading name in the production and processing of fruit and vegetables.

“We are close to the European market. The location is perfectly suited for the storage, processing and packing of citrus fruits and vegetables,” points out Mr. Villari. “Agro Fruit is not limited to citrus fruit from Sicily.”

We provide the best lemons and blood oranges from Sicily. Antonino VillariManaging Director

The company’s site in Rodengo-Saiano is an efficient logistics hub for the fast trading and handling of fruits and vegetables. “Our customers are large supermarket chains and they expect fast distribution. We are proud to have become one of the leading fruit suppliers to the most important supermarket chains in Europe. We now deliver on a long-term and regular basis to Conad, Eurospin, Auchan, Lidl and others, both in Italy and Europe,” says Mr. Villari. “On a national and international scale, we also supply national and international importers and wholesalers in many European countries.”

In the past decades, Agro Fruit has expanded its business coverage with investments in research and development and it has equally improved its national and international presence, its logistics network and the number of customers.

“We have established as one of the mayor brands within the Villari group, and we are exclusively dedicated to confectioning, trading and transporting our products most efficiently. We focus on rapid delivery from our site, which is close to the outlets and logistics centers of our trading partners and customers,” states Mr. Villari. “In the past ten years, we have been quite successful and we have been able to expand and enlarge our product portfolio. Today, the companies within our group and our associate fruit farmers cultivate and grow fruits in an area of more than 30 ha.”

Agro Fruit’s lemons from Syracuse boast excellent nutrition values and are high in vitamin C. “Our red Tarocco blood orange is a precious Sicilian citrus fruit with intensely red flesh and a high juice content. It is only growing in the sunny microclimate around the Etna and it boasts a higher vitamin C content than any other orange. The fruits are only harvested when they have reached perfect ripeness, as to ensure maximum nutritional intake,” says Mr. Villari.

In the coming years, Agro Fruit will continue to safeguard the top quality of all products in order to promote a healthy lifestyle for the end consumers at home and abroad.

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