The Peaches of Emilia-Romagna
Delightful on the palate, good for one’s health, these peaches are grown using the European Integrated Farming system, ensuring safe consumption and carefully monitored cultivation. Cultivation, quality and sales is overseen by an affiliated consortium dedicated to the protection of these unique PGI Peaches.
Ravenna, Forli-Cesena, Ferrara, Rimini and Bologna, are the provinces that make up the production area of the peaches and nectarines of Emilia-Romagna; the only peaches to be granted the European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) mark. Around 350,000 tonnes of peaches and nectarines are produced in the Emilia-Romagna region. However recently the production is shifting in favour of nectarines over peaches, with the well sought-after nectarines cultivated in Ravenna making up as much as 35% of the European market supply.
PGI Peaches of Emilia-Romagna; Quality, Classification and Variety.
The PGI mark peaches of Emilia-Romagna are valued in the region both for their nutritional quality and as a treasured indigenous crop. It is also worth mentioning the Integrated Farming methods employed to cultivate them, which are both kind for the environment, and raise the quality control of the fruit, making them ever more desirable to consumers. The Integrated Farming methods requires that the entire cultivation process, from farming methods to quality control, is constantly revalued and adjusted accordingly. The large size of these peaches is a distinctive factor for this PGI label. The size value 3A applies to the peaches harvested latest in the season making them sweet and of the largest size, and together with the second-largest 2A sizes are the most valued in the market. The secret to their popularity is the diversity within the Emilia-Romagna varieties, boasting 22 kinds of yellow peaches, 4 white peaches, and 29 different varieties of nectarine. They are also classified into different cultivation times ranging from precocious, early, mid and late season; spread across a timescale starting in late June and ending in early September. They are sold via the “Consortium for the Protection and Development of IGP Peaches and Nectarines of Romagna”. The consortium works in tandem with the Ferrara Fruit and Vegetables Service Centre Cooperative (Centro servizi ortofrutticoli) for the improved marketing of peach and nectarine sales, and a more integrated and innovative supply chain.
Peaches have various essential nutritional properties. They contain vitamins C and B carotene, which are essential for the production of Retinol in the body, an essential A vitamin. They are also a good source of potassium. They also contain many phenol phytochemicals, such as Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid, Carotenoids and pro-vitamin A. These phytochemicals are the main nutritional content of vegetation, and just like anti-oxidants these phytochemicals combat free-radicals in the prevention of aging. Eating one peach a day or two medium sized nectarines provides 10% of one’s recommended daily vitamin C allowance. In particular the vitamin C beta-carotene is essential in the development of human tissue and for preventing the deterioration of one’s vision.