The Tomatoes in the Agro Nocerino area
The Italian Tomato is known and appreciated throughout the world for its characteristics, which remain the same even by the transformation in “Peeled” .
The presence of such factors as the Mediterranean climate and the extremely fertile soil as well as the skill and the experience gained by the farmers of this area of production over the decades, has contributed to the success of canned tomatoes in the world.
The characteristics of the product that increased its knowledge and its consumption are: the typically sweet and sour taste, the long berry with parallel and longitudinal depressions, the bright red colour, few seeds and placental fibbers and the fact that it is easy to peel.
These factors, together with its chemical-physical characteristics, make the product unique, both in the fresh state that in the transformed one.
The “Peeled” tomato and the tomato “peeled into strips”, both belong to the ecotype of the area of the Sarno‘s valley.
The product put in the market must have very specific technical characteristics such as a uniform red colour and form of long parallelepiped, the absence of foreign flavours and odours and a drained weight of not less than 60% of the net weight by adding the natural tomato juice.
The cultivation’s method of the fresh product presents the breeding of vertical plants with the use of some supports.
This practice respects the secular tradition, even though, due to the high number of labor hours required, it has a major impact on production costs.
The tomato, as it is known, is native of Central America. It was brought in Europe in the 600s and it had just an ornamental value.
Its food value was discovered only later some say not until the eighteenth century when it was spread in different countries of the Mediterranean.
Some evidences of oral tradition say that the first tomato seed arrived in Italy in the 1770s, as a gift from the Kingdom of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples and that it would have been planted in the area that corresponds to the ‘ Agro – Nocerino-Sarnese.
In the course of time, through various actions of selection, the tomato has acquired the characteristics of the modern ecotype. According to other witnesses, however, it was only in 1902 that we got the definite proof of the presence the famous ecotype in Nocera, S. Marzano and Sarno.
It is the Gourmet’s delight, the scent of Sundays and of the holidays where the white pasta was dressed by the delicious red sauce.
The tomato gained great appreciation from the gastronomic point of view toward the beginning of the 900s, when the first industries of conservation arose and they started the production of the famous “peeled” tomato.
In the recent past the tomato was also called “red gold” for the economic value that was able to take for farmers of the Agro – Nocerino-Sarnese.
The Italian tomato is witnessing to a new season of rebirth and is now required not only in Europe and America, but also in other continents where it is spreading thanks to the growing success of the “Mediterranean diet.”
History of the tomato processing
The first processing craft of the tomato dates back to the 800s.
At the end of the 800s two areas of industrialization developed in the processing tomato field.
The first one that was located in the southern Campania, in Puglia and Sicily, and the other one which was located in the provinces of Parma and Piacenza.
Viceversa in the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese the production of peeled tomato developed as it is the most suitable type of tomato which grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
The first tomato to be used for the production of peeled was the Tomato from Nocera-Sarno, formerly referred to as “Long” because of the shape of the fruit.
The cultivation of tomatoes has always been a pride to the region of Campania thanks to its extensive presence in the area.
The production is made exclusively on flat land of volcanic origin, well irrigated and which is uniform and naturally fertile thanks to the phisico -chemical characteristics of volcanic materials and for the presence of sufficient amounts of organic matter that characterize the high fertility.
The soils of the Agro Nocerino , having originated from volcanic eruptions of Vesuvius and from the surrounding formations called “preappenniniche “, have physico-chemical characteristics such as to make them listed among the best land of Italy.
The physico-chemical and organoleptic quality of this product make it perfect both to be eaten fresh even than processed.
It is typical product from Campania region in Italy and it is an important reference for those who want to eat genuine food from the Mediterranean diet.