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Barbara Fontani, Tuscany Growers:

Italy: “Many varieties have been damaged by the frosts”

“One of our biggest challenges has been the lack of availability of stock, as the bad weather in April has affected our production,” says Barbara Fontani, Sales Manager for Tuscany Growers. They are a Tuscany based cooperation between two growers, Vivai Piante Biagini Azienda Agricola San Giovanni and Vivai Masetti Sabino. “It has been difficult to meet demand with this year’s bad weather, as the season has also been incredibly busy and even longer than is usual for us.” Barbara shares this year’s events, their goal to reach the UK market, and improving their relationships.

Left to right: Gianna Masetti, Barbara Fontani and Susanna Livi of Tuscany Growers. 

Longer season than normal
According to Barbara, this year’s demand for Tuscany Growers’ plants has been exceptionally high. “The season started out very busy, and it didn’t stop where it normally would. Usually we do not work as much in the summer time as we do in spring or autumn. This year, however, was unique, as we continued delivering throughout June and July. Compared to last year, where almost nobody came to visit because of COVID-19, we have had lots of nursery visits this year.”

Magnolia grandiflora gallisoniensismultistem  

Frosts affecting production
Barbara shares that their nurseries have had to deal with some severely bad weather in April. “We had frosts, which damaged many of our flowering varieties, leading to a lack of them. For example, this has been affecting our Magnolia deciduous and Acer varieties. In addition, for some varieties it is currently difficult to find young plants to reproduce. And regarding the bigger sized plants, the lack has certainly been a problem this year, especially when the demand is so high.”

Trying to reach the UK market
As it is still challenging for UK residents to travel to Italy, this market is currently a particular focus for Tuscany Growers. “We are following the UK market with particular attention. They are not able to come here, so we need to be much more present for them ourselves. Therefore, we have improved our advertising campaigns, both in local magazines and online. We are also trying to find an agent that could help us improve our UK relationships. We hope to find someone soon who can help out locally.”

Photinia fraseri red robin bushes  

“Maintaining our customers is the focus, instead of growing bigger”
Tuscany Growers is group of family run businesses, whose main focus is to improve their existing relationships. “Our aim is to maintain our customers by giving them the best services that we can. If we want to add new customers, that also means we need to increase our staff, so we are taking things slowly. We have already been growing fast these past four years and for now, we want to focus on improving those existing relationships in order to maintain them. After that, we will see how the future develops.”

For more information:
Tuscany Growers
Barbara Fontani