Pesca di Leonforte PGI is a fresh peach that represents the natural synthesis of ancient local varieties and the microclimate of the production area.
The cultivation of the peach is characterised by the fruit being bagged, which involves each individual peach being protected with a silver vellum paper bag during the months of June and July. Pruning is allowed in both winter and summer, whilst thinning should be carried out in May, before the bagging of the fruit, which improves the quality of the product and facilitates the bagging process. The irrigation technique used is drip irrigation or spray irrigation. Harvesting begins during the first ten days of September and can last until the first ten days of November; the fruit must be picked during the coolest hours of the day. Particular attention must be paid to separating the fruit from the branch, avoiding damage to the peduncle.
Appearance and Flavour
Thanks to the late-ripening of the fruit in the bags, Pesca di Leonforte PGI have a deep yellow colour with faint red stripes and an extremely strong fragrance; the flesh is firm and sweet. The skin colour varies slightly depending on the variety and harvesting period.
The production area of Pesca di Leonforte PGI is within the territory of the municipalities of Leonforte, Enna, Calascibetta, Assoro and Agira in the Province of Enna, in the Sicily region.
Thanks to the qualities of the product, such as its firmness, late ripening, sweetness and fragrance, Pesca di Leonforte PGI has boasted an extremely good reputation for a long time. However, the work carried out by the farmer has also always been fundamental, over time becoming specialised in cultivation techniques and other specific stages in the production process, such as the bagging of the fruit. The cultivation of this product was the jewel in the crown of agriculture in Leonforte and has permitted local operators to produce a fruit that is widely appreciated by consumers, also leading to an improvement in their standard of living. In fact, for about the last twenty years the Pesca di Leonforte has represented an important motor for local economy. Since 1982, on the first Sunday of October, there has been an annual Festival in its honour, aimed at promoting and valorizing the product.
Pesca di Leonforte PGI, when ripe, can be stored in the fridge for a few days. These peaches can be eaten fresh at any time of the day or in syrup, but they can also be used as an ingredient in desserts, ice-cream and fruit salads.
The product is marketed as Pesca di Leonforte PGI, in the following varieties: Bianco di Leonforte and Giallone di Leonforte. The commercial categories are Extra and First. It is sold from September to November, in different shaped cardboard or wooden cases and boxes, or in baskets, with a capacity of between 0.5 and 6 kg. Each confection contains fruits of the same variety and class, with the same weight and level of ripening. The fruit is sold in its own distinctive packaging, allowing consumers to recognize the certified product.
Pesca di Leonforte PGI is characterised by its late ripening, which is favoured by the specific characteristics of each variety, the climatic conditions and a specific cultivation technique: the mandatory use of vellum paper bags to protect the fruit during the stage in which it reaches the size of a walnut. This allows for the product to arrive on the market when other peach varieties are already out of season. Thanks to this technique, which is one of the more representative aspects of the product, the peaches are almost completely free from toxic residues.