Santà Orsola Società Cooperativa Agricola
Sant’Orsola S.C.A. is a Producer Organisation specialised in the production and marketing of a wide range of berry fruits: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, redcurrant, strawberries, and cherries. Established in 1972 in Trentino (Northern Italy), the cooperative currently counts on 800 associate growers with around 570 ha of overall cultivated surface, and a total annual turnover of around €60 million. To keep the leading position in the Italian small fruit market, Sant’Orsola manages the whole production chain. The growers are constantly followed by the advising team during the entire year, from the nursery, to plant growing and cropping. Storage, packing, selling and marketing activities complete the chain. This peculiar attention to the entire production cycle pushed the decision to set up a raspberry breeding program to satisfy the company and associate growers’ specific needs. Furthermore, one of Sant’Orsola's marketing goals is selling Italian fruits on the Italian market all year round. To achieve this purpose, Sant’Orsola’s growers, who are located from Southern to Northern Italy, from sea level to 1200 m asl, grow several species using different varieties and techniques. Thus, research, technical development and new genotypes are key and structural points. The innovation in techniques applicable in the breeding program and the growers' fields is the complementary side. The aim is to obtain plants more resilient to biotic and abiotic stress, adaptable to the very diverse climatic conditions in which Sant’Orsola's growers are operating; fruits with long shelf-life and able to meet consumer preferences.
Main task in the project
Within the project, Sant’Orsola contributes to several activities on strawberry, raspberry and blueberry, and the strong industry background will be useful to steer the research activities toward the market and grower needs. Sant’Orsola will establish field trials for characterizing plant and fruit material traits. Sant’Orsola will apply for raspberry genomic selection supplying phenotypic and genotypic data, to assess the feasibility of new statistical genomics-based prediction models. Sant’Orsola will participate in some fruit trait analyses and postharvest activities. Sant’Orsola will participate in the consumer sensory tests and willingness to pay to assess the potential in terms of sensory quality and appeal to consumers.