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Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto D.O.P. Agricoltura Biologica
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Farro D.O.P
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26/11/2016

The Farro DOP (Triticum Dicoccum-EMMER)

 

 

- What is the history of the business? When did it start? Has it always been in the same family? How many generations?

Our family comes from generations of farmers (all those that we know). As per history and geography of our area, up to fifty years ago be a farmers was not an option, but the only solution. Instead in the recent years be a farmer is a choice of life because it is a job that, if it is done as it was done in the past, requires effort and dedication. My father, Antonio, and my mother, Giuseppina, have taken care of the land of our grandfathers (Maria,Filomena, Domenico e Riccardo) who cultivated with the help of cows. Agriculture has been the only source of income of our small town ("Trebua", the Etruscan name of the actual name "Trivio"). for many years in fact our grandparents ate Farro that they produced in our lands. Some of this were then also exchanged with small sheep farmers in Trivio. These families, and the family of our grandparents, were very poor and lived with the bare minimum. My father and my mother have therefore continue to cultivate the land inherited maintaining all agricultural knowledge.

Just over twenty years ago, in a small village close to ours, a lady wanted to organize a festival of local products and invited my mother and my father to bring some products. So they organized with a few bags of Farro and lentil, bringing even small paper bags hoping to sell something. After a few hours of the fair, they sold all the products and began to think to buy more land in order to produce for more people.

Today my brother, Domenico, and my father take care of the heavy work in the fields, while my mother and my sister, Gloria, are in charge of packaging the products and also help when it is the harvest time.

 


- What makes the farro of Spoleto so special? Why is it better than farro grown in other parts of Italy?

The main aspect is related to the fact that the seed has never been contaminated with a seed of Farro from other region. This was possible due to the difficulties of access and communication of our territory that for centuries has remained very closed (perhaps this is the only positive aspect of the closure of a community). As is known, the Farro was one of the most used food by the Romans, a legend claims that during the Middle Ages the Farro was no longer used because it was not profitable as the wheat. But in Monteleone di Spoleto was cultivated only spelled, and it was so tied to the land to be more profitable than wheat, so its cultivation was never abandoned, but rather it was defense.Being the Farro an ancient grain, it has retained the primitive sensory characteristics giving it a unique texture and taste.

 

- Do you know how many companies grow Spoleto’s farro DOP?

The companies that grow Farro D.O.P. di Monteleone are currently less than ten and we are recorded and monitored by the Italian agriculture ministry.

 

- When was it granted DOP status and what was the reason?

The thirtieth May 2007. The Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P.) "Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto" it is reserved to the "granella" (grain) produced from the local variety of the species Triticum dicoccum (Schübler) and that meets the requirements established by these specifications:

The “Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto” is a local ecotype of the species Triticum dicoccum typical of the defined area (art. 3 of " DISCIPLINARE DI PRODUZIONE DELLA DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE PROTETTA DEL “FARRO DI MONTELEONE DI SPOLETO”),  and he has taken, thanks to the adaptation in the time to the climate and soils of the area bounded to, the unique morphological and physiological characteristics that distinguish it from Farro obtained in other geographical areas:

-          Habitus spring

-          Plant height less than 1.20 m;

-          Average degree of branching;

-          Semi-erect habit at the end of tillering;

-          Plants with stalks and leaves with thin glaucescenza weak variable average;

-          Ear of small dimensions, is flat and bristlecone a color maturation dirty white;

-          Husk Closely adhering to the kernel;

-          Caryopsis with abundant apical hairs, pronounced hump, a vitreous fracture;

-          Light brown amber, feature that gives it a particular character differentiation, found in all products also after milling;

 

 

- Are there specific regulations about how the farro has to be grown in order to gain DOP recognition?

There is a specification, or regulation (called: DISCIPLINARE DI PRODUZIONE DELLA DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE PROTETTA DEL “FARRO DI MONTELEONE DI SPOLETO”), that defines the boundaries of the production area and it establishes the methods of control at every stage of the production process.

There is also a specific chapter related to the coltivation procedure that need to be followed.

 

 

- When and how is it harvested? What are the rules regarding harvesting?

Plowing is carried out in October-November for allow weed seeds to germinate and establish themselves after the end of the summer rains. The cultivation technique adopted is traditional, in use for hundreds of years: the workings soil, such as plowing and ripping, are autumn. The depth of ploughing is 30-35 cm with complete reversal of the root ball; the soil is worked so left to "mature" for the whole winter. For sowing must be used between 120 and 150 kg per hectare of seeds derived exclusively from planting carried out in the defined area. The "Farro di Spoleto" Monteleone is sown from 1 February to 10 May. Sowing is done mechanically in columns or so scattered. No chemical fertilizer is allowed. Our company uses only organic manure, certificates from local farms that we known since long time and who have a strong sense of ethics.

The harvest takes place during the months of July, August, September. The collection is performed to combine harvesting. The productions are between 0.6 and 3.0 tons per hectare of dressed Farro.

 

 

- Have the processes changed over the years?

Obviously the advent of agricultural machinery has enabled a simpler Cultivation. Fifty years ago was beaten by hand and today we use an old harvester. Although the mechanical seeding is allow, my father still carries the sowing by hand. Our philosophy is to minimize human and mechanical impact on the ground so we maintain minimum operations: plowing, sowing and harvesting. We do not make any mechanical irrigation ne chimic fertilization.

 

- How important is tradition for the company?

Tradition is important for us because it is linked to periods in which man cultivated with a few tools and then he obtained the maximum by consuming the minimum. Tradition allows us to perform operations consolidated in the centuries that have their effectiveness, such as follow the moon phases for the main stages of production (and this certainly can not be found in the Regulation).

A proverb:

 

"farro farrese

famme una bona maese

somentame a gallese

che te pago le spese "

 

The Earth turns farmer

"farro farrese

do me a good fallow

sowing me when the time is assumed to be suitable

then I will pay to you the expensis "

 

 

 

- What are the main things your farro is used for?

Spelt is used for soups, hot and cold. It can be used as a dressing for salads, but in its classic version is used to make the soup "Farro to Trebua" (in honour of our small village).

From Farro you can get many derivatives products: the flour, puffed Farro, biscuits etc.

I thought a pizza that you get only from Farro grains, without using yeast and any flour, squeezing the seeds previously put to soak, you can get a paste that you can use instead of the pizza.

 

 

- Is it sold all over Italy? Is it also sold overseas?

Currently we sell in Italy through our website and in some small grocery stores. We have some friends abroad which at least once a year come to visit us to buy our products and in some cases come with us in the fields. Thanks to Internet technology, we can still make shipments all over the world, but unfortunately the shipping costs affect too much.

 

Alessandro, 26.11.2016

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