They came close to extinction but today, they represent new development opportunities for Tuscan agriculture. The two products are aglione (similar to garlic) and grano 23 (a specific type of grain), Tuscan-grown products that have been registered in the regional list and in the national agro-biodiversity register, an action that constitutes the first important step in securing a unique heritage.
To date there are over 700, out of a total of 880, varieties of Tuscan fruit, vegetables, cereals, native fodder and animal breeds that, having coming close to disappearing, have been kept alive thanks to the protection system of the agricultural biodiversity of the Tuscan Regional Council, a system based on the action of the coltivatori custodi (guardian growers) and germplasm banks.
“The protection of the varieties of fruit, vegetables, cereals, fodder and native animal breeds is one of the foundations of our agricultural policies – said the vice president and councilor for agri-food Stefania Saccardi – Protecting them from the risk of extinction and promoting biodiversity heritage is an essential part of our strategy, aimed at guaranteeing the identity of the territory, rural culture, work of the local farmers and the communities. Today, the commitment to reintroduce these varieties, or at least some of them, into the production circuit is also fundamental. Their presence not only supports economic revitalization activities, especially in areas considered to be marginal, but also strengthens the image of Tuscany as a place of quality thanks to the balance between the environment, agriculture and human activity, a real agro-ecosystem“.
Usually used as a condiment for the popular dish of Tuscan pici, it’s already recognized as a traditional food product at a national level. It’s a local variety that belongs to the species Allium ampeloprasum var. holmense, not to be confused with garlic (species Allium sativum). Saved by some local farmers in the Tuscan and Umbrian Val di Chiana, it has only recently been rediscovered, recovered and promoted by farmers, local authorities and their associations and consortia, however, it’s still at risk of extinction.
Originally known as Avanzi 3, this type of soft wheat is perfectly compatible with the production of typical products of the area such as panigacci and testaroli. It produces a flour that’s particularly suitable for lightly leavened products, well represented in the numerous PAT (traditional agri-food products) belonging to the Lunigiana area. The various operators have expressed a strong interest in recovering a local supply chain that uses the land’s wheat flour, traditionally grown in different areas of the Municipalities of Pontremoli, Filattiera and Fivizzano, as well as in higher altitude areas such as Zeri.