Ancient fruits, not from Jurassic Park, we are talking about the postwar period. Ancient, yes, and no one is offended, we are not talking about human beings but about fruits. Of industrial agriculture, of biodiversity. With some suggestions for those who, intrigued by this article, want to go to know and buy ancient fruits. Because, thanks to green and passionate souls, they are not yet extinct. Not all of them at least.
Ancient fruits: what they are
The ones we call ancient fruits they are fruits that were contemporary already two generations ago, they are the ones that, over the past 30-40 years, have faded. Not by their will, or even strictly by consumers, least of all due to the effect of glaciations that do not appear to have occurred in the last century. There is in the way, in the history of ancient fruits, the rather rapid and recent affirmation of the modern fruit growing industrial.
A process that has fallen upon us, in part, in part has been well promoted, but which today in one way or another we are already underway and we can reap its ancient fruits, trying not to make them disappear. In Italy, a country of farmers and a deep and ancient agricultural tradition, i ancient fruits they do not go unnoticed, indeed, fortunately they involve both professionals and "hobbyists" or collectors for passion. The problem is therefore not a matter of little interest, but of dispersion.
Traveling from North to South, or vice versa, the boot, you can cross an unimaginable amount of experiences that are difficult to summarize. But it is necessary. To not stop grasping ancient fruits as a country we must collect experiences, testimonies and regional heritage in a single treasure chest. Why, we'll see soon, when it comes to ancient fruits we talk about treasures.
Ancient fruits: biodiversity
As I have already widely understood, the concept of ancient fruits it has nothing nostalgic or vintage, a style that I love but not when it comes to nature. In fact, like most of the scientific community sensitive to the subject, I prefer that they do not continue to be rarities but that they acquire more and more space. Both on the market and in the world of research.
Biodiversity is at stake,agrobiodiversity, to be precise, understood as the result of an evolutionary process that has generated, through the selection of farmers, the multiplicity of fruits that we can taste today. While not knowing exactly the number of the many varieties of ancient fruits that have survived todayindustrial agriculture, One thing is certain.
Italy owns and must preserve and enhance a agricultural heritage definitely rich: we are in a country of rare geological and agri-environmental heterogeneity and we can not pretend nothing has happened. Indeed, we can leverage this custody responsibility by making it an important opportunity to enhance local agricultural realities and all study and research activities active in the agricultural world.
Those that dig, research, explore and try to tell about agrobioversity. They try, because as long as there are still those who buy strawberries on New Year's Eve, or the like, that of drawing attention to ancient fruits is a true mission. Not "impossible", however, and I will tell you two examples that show that "it can be done".
The experts who are already dedicated to ancient fruits argue the need to create a national project to comprehensively survey all the diversity still available, the threat posed by an overwhelming genetic erosion is around the corner, especially due toabandonment of the countryside. What steps have been taken in Italy so far?
In 2008, the State-Regions Conference approved the "National plan on biodiversity of agricultural interest " aimed at providing guidelines for the conservation and enhancement of genetic resources present in agriculture. 2010 was theinternational year of biodiversity. It passed to the cry "Biodiversity is life, our life" - official motto - but after 6 years the echo is good that it remains. There is still a lot to do.
Ancient fruits Paderna
The first example, an excellent example, of a reality attentive to biodiversity in agriculture and, in particular, to the ancient fruits is the review "Ancient Fruits". Promoted by the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) and carried out in collaboration with the Paderna Castle and the FAI Committee of Piacenza, this is an initiative explicitly dedicated to forgotten plants, flowers and fruits.
The idea was born in October 1996 and today it is one of the longest-running events in Italy dedicated to horticulture. Not only does it resist but has recently doubled with a spring edition that since 2015 has been added to the classic autumn. Always of ancient fruits we talk, undisputed protagonists, for all seasons.
On the official website of the event you can find updates not only on the two editions of the event sui ancient fruits but up-to-date and interesting news related to the topic. As soon as the new date comes out, however, let's mark it on the agenda because it is an unmissable event. A moment of meeting and comparison for operators, scholars and institutions to discuss issues concerning research and preservation of ancient fruits and forgotten essences.
For the passionate hobbyists it is an opportunity to get to know or deepen one's knowledge by browsing among the ancient novelties proposed and the local territorial peculiarities that the event prefers most of all. Even those who do not know anything about ancient fruits and are reading now that they exist, can take a leap to this beautiful review, will find an immense genetic heritage who is being lost without his knowledge, will find specialized nurserymen, spaces to raise awareness of young and old, curiosities and "goodies" of gardening and botany, local handicraft products.
Ancient Maioli fruits
Bravo, affirmed and passionate Maioli is one of the best known producers of ancient fruits in the Italian panorama. It offers an assortment of over 1200 varieties convinced that its turning to the past is a way to cultivate the future. A green future.
The company, located in Salvaterra (RE), (www.maiolifruttiantichi.it), boasts a tradition of research and conservation of ancient fruits and aims to spread the old varieties explaining that they are healthy for the consumer and sustainable. for the environment.
In addition to selling ancient fruits, Maioli wishes to teach the farmers of the future his ideal of sustainable agriculture. The one that does not need treatments with pesticides and that respects the environment and man. By tasting the ancient fruits we can taste products with a high content of vitamin C (up to 29%) with a genuine, intense and delicious flavor. These are the fruits that fed our grandparents and we can continue to cultivate them, following the indications of Maioli, even in our gardens or even on balconies and terraces. It is not for everyone to have ancient fruits hanging from the branches.
Ancient fruits: to find out more
I have not given you examples of ancient fruits because here, in this interesting book, there are already 100. In fact it is entitled " Rediscovered fruits. 100 ancient and rare varieties to discover”And we will find ourselves leafing through it with a pinch of emotion, undecided: do we have a fairy tale and reality in our hands? This book, priced at € 22, is an opportunity to rediscover the aromas and flavors of peasant culture and get to know the ancient fruits both for their organoleptic qualities and for benefits and food uses.
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