Slow Food Presidia Around Mount Vesuvius

18 November 2020

Acerra Dente di Morto Bean, Neapolitan Papaccella, the Hundred-Day Pea and Heirloom Vesuvius Apricot Varieties.

The story of the Vesuvian Presidia present at the marketplace of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto could be summed up in one word: passion.

The passion that keeps Vera Verrone awake at night: a building contractor enamored with her local area and committed to protecting its biodiversity. “I have a different job, but my daily life is filled with activity.  Five years ago my love for this land pushed me to start a small business with my family. It’s dedicated to growing Hundred-Day Peas.” This one of the products in the quartet of the Vesuvian Presidia, all present at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto both with a virtual showcase and a space in our online marketplace.

You’ll find lots of products, including the “Centogiorni” (Hundred Day) pea pod cream, as well as both the juice and the jam of apricots, grilled papacella in oil or vinegar, and packets of dry beans of the Dente di Morto variety which you can use to make a whole host of dishes!

The Hundred-Day Pea

The Hundred-Day Pea, Slow Food Presidium. Photo: Archivio Slow Food.

In the countryside of Campania the tradition of growing these Hundred-Day Peas has existed since the times of the Ancient Greeks. It’s a bean that’s noted for its sweet and delicate taste, a perfect match for meats, pasta and the king of Camapanian cuisine: cod. Today only a few family-run businesses still grow it, because it’s hard to process in the way that the giants of the food industry demand.

“Five years ago, when I chose to do my part to protect the biodiversity of my land, I met a lot of producers who encouraged me, and together we started to research the old seeds of the Hundred-Day Pea,” Vera explains. Today there are 18 producers united in an association, all using the same label.

Vera tells us the story of her business, the connection with other producers, the studies and the passion that fuel her days. Her every word conveys the joy and satisfaction of the progress made over the last five days: not just promoting her products, but ensuring their continued existence.

Strength in unity

The Acerra Dente di Morto Bean, Slow Food Presidium. Photo: Alberto Peroli.

“Having brought smiles to the faces of these producers that I’ve got to know over the years, people who didn’t believe that there was a future for this crop, and being able to pass this tradition on to the next generation: these are things to be proud of. We’re all very small businesses here, united like a family. Everything we do, we do it with our own hands, like in the old times.”

Vera keeps these traditions going, but she’s also studying new ways to connect with the history of this pea. So today her business is also playing a pioneering role in developing new ways of processing the peas into different products.

Out of the pod

“I love having contact with consumers, the chance to tell them our story in person. At the same time I need to let as many people as possible know about the Hundred-Day Pea of Campania. So we do lots of promotional and communicational activities alongside our production activities. We’ve started to spread the word about our product on social media, and we’ve chosen to take part in the online marketplace of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto. I must thank Slow Food for the fact that people beyond Italy know about us. We have French customers who are fascinated by our product, but above all by the ethical values that characterize our work.”

The Vesuvian Basket

Neapolitan Papaccella, Slow Food Presidium. Photo: Antonello Carboni.

We ask Vera to tell us how work is going in this difficult period. “It’s a painful time for us. It’s changed everything for us too. But we’ve tried to push forward and stay close to our customers as always, even if we can’t see them face-to-face. We invented what we call the Vesuvian Basket: working together, all the producers from the different Presidia around Vesuvius in total synergy, we created this basket which gathers together a variety of our products, and we deliver them door-to-door. It’s been a success! Once again the strength in unity of this big family has turned out well for us. So together we’re supporting each other and moving forward even in this dark period.”

by Carolina Meli, info.eventi@slowfood.it

Check out the virtual showcase of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto and visit the Vesuvian Presidia. In the virtual showcase you can find a complete presentation of the producers, and get to know them almost as well as you would in person. You can also buy the products of the Vesuvian Presidia in our online marketplace.