“Vecchie varietà del Vesuvio” apricots apricots are extremely sweet, of organoleptic quality superior to modern varieties, but more delicate and perishable and therefore difficult to manage in modern fruit and vegetable markets.
The names are curious, just to name a few: boccuccia, pellecchiella, vitillo, cafona, vicienzo and ’maria. They are evidence of an intense variety selection activity carried out over the centuries by Vesuvian farmers to get the best from one of the most profitable resources of this land. The new variety selected by the farmers, called in the vernacular pelese, “true breed”, “successful breed” or “native breed”, took the surname, name or nickname of the farmer who had obtained it, or was called as the locality or the farm of origin, or again it was defined by some marked character of the plant or fruit.
To differentiate them are the morphological aspects and the organoleptic characteristics: boccuccia variety (It means “little mouth”) can be smooth or thorny depending on the roughness of the peel and have a slightly sweet and sour taste, the vitillo is large and round, appreciated for the production of syrup, the pellecchiella is considered one of the best for its particularly sweet flavor and extraordinary aroma.
Of the approximately one hundred cultivars reported in the literature, about seventy have been traced, but most have survived and housed in fields of varietal collection. On the other hand, about fifteen apricot cultivars are still present in the field, in an area of Vesuvius ranging from 50 to 150 meters above sea level, in small farms. The soils are volcanic and mostly sandy, the apricot trees are grown in association with other fruit and vegetable plants, we do not practice weeding with chemicals and fertilize only with organic products. The harvest takes place between June and July and is manual. After harvest, the apricots are immediately brought to the market to be able to taste them at the right point of ripeness, when their quality is better, or to transform them into jams and pastries.
Historical texts from the 19th century speak of apricot as the most cultivated fruit in the Naples area after the fig, but starting from 1970, the urbanization process in the Vesuvius area has greatly reduced agricultural activities and confined the cultivation of apricots in tiny orchards, often enclosed between buildings. In the same years, new markets and new production areas were born in other regions. The focus was on the selection and planting of modern varieties and cultivation in high-density and mechanizable orchards, while on Vesuvius this type of agriculture was not practicable. The decrease in importance of Campania production is evident if we consider that in the 1980s the production of this region was about 40% of national production (70% of the total production of southern Italy). Today these values have dropped to 30% and 40% respectively.
The Slow Food Presidium wants to relaunch this reality, safeguarding the varietal biodiversity, protecting the old plants, identifying the most widespread cultivars among those remaining in cultivation, about fifteen including the aforementioned varieties, and improving the harvesting and marketing systems to enhance them in the best possible way. the organoleptic quality, highlighting the peculiarities of each.
Apricot fruit juices
Aprots in syrup