The Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI refers to the ripe tuber, with red skin and pale yellow pulp, belonging to the Solanum Tuberosum L. species.
The production area of Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI is within the mountain area of the Umbrian-Marchean Apennines and includes several municipalities in the provinces of Perugia, in the Umbria region, and of Macerata, in the The Marches region.
The potatoes must be grown on land that has been properly prepared; there must be no clods or holes throughout its entire depth and it must be exposed as much as possible to the structuring action of frost. Deep grubbing is carried out and at the time of planting, which takes place from March 1st to June 30th, the land is harrowed level. The tubers must be at least 28 mm high, and can be implanted whole or after being cut longitudinally into pieces at least two days before planting. The latter can be carried out either by hand or tuber planting machines, which deposit the tubers at a predetermined distance of 70-90 cm between one row and another, closing the furrows by levelling the soil. This is followed by ridging, which may be preceded by slight pre-ridging at the time of planting. The harvest, which can be carried out either manually or mechanically, must start on August 1st and finish at the end of November, with a permitted total production of no more than 40 tonnes per hectare. The potatoes are preserved in large ventilated nylon sacks or containers which are stored in warehouses that provide the conditions necessary for the correct preservation of the tubers: allowing the surface to dry; facilitating the healing of damage caused during the harvest; preventing water forming on the surface. Anti-sprouting agents cannot be used while the product is in storage.
Appearance and Flavour
Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI is characterised by its intact skin, which is completely free of marks or damage caused by frost. It has a long uneven oval shape and the opaque red skin is thin and rough: the pulp is compact and straw yellow in colour.
The first evidence of red potato cultivation in the highland areas of Colfiorito and Casenove dates back to the second half of the XVIII century. The area was an obligatory stopping point for armies on their way to the Marches region, and the potato was probably introduced by imperial troops journeying through the Papal State and during the subsequent French occupation during the Napoleonic period; in fact potatoes were a substantial part of the armies’ diet.
In order to preserve its characteristics, the Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI must be kept away from light and at low temperatures. In Umbria it is used an ingredient in numerous recipes: the most typical example is gnocchi, topped with Trasimeno Pike or mutton sauce; however, it is also excellent for making bread, focaccia or puree and can be served boiled, roasted, fried or grilled. Another much loved delicacy is the sweet red potato doughnut. A good opportunity to enjoy the many ways this potato can be used is at the annual Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI fair, which takes place every August.
The Patata Rossa di Colfiorito PGI owes its distinctive qualities to the particular pedoclimatic characteristics of the reference area, where it is grown at an altitude higher than or equal to 470 metres above sea level, characterised by siliceous soil containing stone, which is slightly acidic, permeable and deep. The high ground offers an ideal climate for the cultivation of this potato, as well as a lower risk of contracting diseases or parasitic infections.