Pomodoro di Pachino PGI is a vegetable belonging to the Lycopersicum esclulentum Mill species, which is distinguished by four varieties: Tondo Liscio (round and smooth, in bunches or single fruit), Costoluto (ribbed), Plum and Mini-plum, Cherry.
The production area of Pomodoro di Pachino PGI is within the territory of the municipalities of Pachino, Portopalo di C.P., Noto (Siracusa) and Ispica (Ragusa), in the Sicily region.
The tomato cultivation is situated within a protected environment such as greenhouses and/or roofed tunnels. In summer, the cultivations can be protected with insect proof nets. Transplanting is carried out between August and February, with the exception of the Cherry tomato which can be transplanted year-round. The vertical training method is used; green pruning and, when necessary, topping are carried out. Irrigation is carried out using groundwater taken from wells in the production area. The tomatoes are picked by hand, usually every 3-4 days.
Appearance and Flavour
The Tondo Liscio variety of Pomodoro di Pachino PGI in bunches is made up of round, bright red tomatoes, while the single fruit are green to dark green in colour; it is has a very strong flavour. The Costoluto variety has a large fruit, with a dark, intense bright green colour. The flesh is firm and is characterised by high sugar content. The Plum and Mini-plum variety is distinguished by its varied elongated shape and particularly sweet taste and flavour. The Cherry variety is characterised by its cherry-like fruit and fish-bone bunches; the fruit are small, round and very bright red.
The first cultivations of Pomodoro di Pachino PGI date back to 1925. They were located along the coast in holdings supplied with irrigation water from groundwater wells. During that period, cultivation was limited due to wide spread viticulture. It was only in the 1950s that tomato cultivation began to take off, gradually increasing over the years to arrive at today’s diffusion. This was mainly due to the arrival of the first greenhouses and to the crisis which affected viticulture in these areas during the 1970s. This led to the establishment of the first associations that started to sell the product on national and international markets.
One of the characteristics of Pomodoro di Pachino PGI is its ability to keep over a long period of time in respect to other tomato varieties. The best way to enjoy its typical sweetish flavour is to eat it in its natural state. It can be used both raw and cooked to season, enhance and decorate dishes from the Mediterranean cuisine. When fresh, it is an ideal ingredient for mixed salads, cold pasta and to flavour minestrone soups and pastas. Obviously, it is ideal for pizza toppings. Ancient Sicilian traditions include drying tomatoes and preserving them in pure olive oil. In this way they can be used for entrees, flans, pâté and with boiled meats, as well as for sandwich fillings.
The product is marketed as Pomodoro di Pachino PGI in the following typologies: Tondo Liscio (in a bunch or individually), Costoluto, Cherry or Ciliegino. The latter is sold year-round, the Costoluto from December to May and the only time that the Tondo Liscio variety is absent is during the summer months. The Tondo Liscio is packed in polythene packets of 300 and 500 g, at times in cartons of 1 kg. The Costoluto is sold in cardboard or plastic crates with a net weight of no more than 10 kg. The Cherry tomato variety is sold in cartons weighing 250 and 500 g or 1 kg.
The pedoclimatic conditions of the production area, which is characterised by high temperatures, extended global radiation, quality irrigation water and a mild climate, gives Pomodoro di Pachino PGI its distinctive organoleptic characteristics, among which, its sweet flavour, the consistency and crunchiness of the flesh, its bright colour and long shelf life.