From June 23 to 29 the first edition of the Peanut and Pop Corn Festival will liven up the streets of Mezzogoro, a district of the Emilian municipality of Codigoro (Ferrara, Italy). It is a 7-day festival, full of events and attractions, dedicated to the rebirth of the production of 100% Made in Italy peanuts. The commitment of S.I.S., Bonifiche Ferraresi, Noberasco and Coldiretti, the companies that were the first to believe in this recovery project, has created a short and certified supply chain of autochthonous varieties.
It might seem like a festival like many others, an opportunity to party but there’s much more behind the 1st edition of the Peanut and Pop Corn Festival. A great effort to recover and organize the sector that participates in the Italian peanut supply chain. It all started a few years ago when Mauro Tonello, S.I.S. president (Società Italiana Sementi) has begun a careful search for autochthonous varieties, as he himself says: “The last crops we have traces date back to 1974. I know for sure because I belong to a family that has been a producer of peanuts and over the years I have carried out numerous searches around the world to recover that indelible. That’s why I collected seeds until, right in the countryside of my country, I discovered some plants that dated back to the Thirties and I started growing them in flower pots, realizing that they were deeply different from those on the market which come mainly from Israel, Egypt and the United States “. The Italian peanut has an intense and persistent flavour. It is smaller with a variegated color, less homogeneous in shape and size with a lumpier appearance and with three or four seeds (instead of the usual two) inside covered by a red peel.
After many years, this Ferrara area is once again the homeland of peanut cultivation. It is precisely in Mezzogoro, the district of the Municipality of Codigoro where the festival will take place, that the largest production area is concentrated. Until today the total cultivated area is 160 hectares, but it is estimated that next year it will reach 200 hectares, involving 50 local producers, and the production which today is 3,000 quintals will reach 5,000 quintals. A good starting point for a project that has what it takes to aim for an expansion that can satisfy a large part of the national demand. A great satisfaction for those who, like S.I.S (of which BF spa is the main shareholder), Noberasco – leader in Italy in the dried and dehydrated fruit sector – and Coldiretti believed and invested in this project to recover an excellence that seemed lost forever. Among the companies that have contributed to this project and accept the challenge of building an innovative plant for drying peanuts we can mention Ocrim, Cimbria, Scolari, Favrin, Zambelli, PAF Industrial Technologies Solutions.
“It is a real market challenge – stated Mattia Noberasco, Noberasco managing director – to taste these new varieties trying to re-educate consumers in different flavors and in smaller colors and sizes like these. Currently we are the only producers who certify all the steps in the supply chain to ensure total transparency towards the consumer, who can buy Italian peanuts in large-scale distribution and in our stores “.
The other protagonist of the festival is popcorn, the son of maize, another typicality of these areas. It’s an excellence that has marked the economic development phases of the area, since after the great reclamation works of the past two centuries. A festival, therefore, in the name of taste that will see many food stands lined up (for the occasion Noberasco, will launch the first peanut cream) and which will host a large program of shows, concerts, exhibitions, parades, dances and cultural events for rediscover the history of the Italian peanut, without neglecting the environmental issues against waste, which are increasingly topical today. The festival Godmothers of this first edition will be two nice mascots on bicycles (Noccio and Lina) who, according to the most informed, will get up to all sorts of things.
For more information about the scheduled events visit the website https://www.arachidiepopcorn.it/