The 'press tour' organized by the Consorzio di Tutela della Pesca di Leonforte IGP over two days has made it possible to present this excellent peach to various producers. The peach is actually a Percoca peach, i.e. with a firmer and crunchier flesh.
Antonio di Leonforte, Petronilla Virzì and Rita Serafini
This is one of the strengths of Pesca di Leonforte IGP, which conquers the palate thanks to its aromatic flavor. Another strength is its eco-friendliness deriving from the rather complicated production techniques, according to which each single fruit is bagged to prevent damage from insects and adverse weather during the growing and ripening phases.
Bagged peaches. (Click here for the photo report)
The results of this procedure are extremely pale fruits, as sunrays are filtered by the paper bags and ripening occurs from the stone outwards rather than vice versa. This results in unique organoleptic properties and flavor despite the pallor.
"Giallone di Leonforte" ecotype
Ectypes are strictly local and there are two of them: yellow peaches from Leonforte and white peaches from Leonforte. Fruits are only harvested with a Brix level not below 11, though usually the sugar content reaches 14° Brix and beyond. Percoca peaches are characterized by a thick and velvety peel, which in this case is edible because of the zero-residue agronomic management. At the moment, the consortium gathers 17 associates including producers and packagers.
"Bianca di Leonforte" ecotype
The first part of the press tour was dedicated to a session focusing on the procedure to obtain the PGI mark by Consortium director Rita Serafini.
"We obtained the PGI mark in 2010, then set up the consortium in 2021, which was recognized as Consorzio di Tutela in 2022. The municipalities of Leonforte, Enna, Calascibetta, Assoro and Agira are part of it. The Consortium gathers over 89% of the total production of peaches from Leonforte, i.e. approximately 140 hectares producing over 600 tons (2020/21 data). The collaboration with local institutions is essential for agriculture and its development, which needs promotion work as well as infrastructures."
Alessia Gervasi talked about the "history of the product and its identification with the local territory ever since the 1960s. Production got more structured towards the end of the decade and increased year after year until it obtained the mark."
Entrepreneur Antonio Di Leonforte then illustrated his experience as peach producer. Petronilla Virzi, the vice-president of the Consortium, also attended.
Finally, the president of the Consortium Domenico Di Stefano, talked about "a challenge won in a territory located in the most remote Sicilian hinterland, where it is possible to grow a business despite the lack of infrastructure."
Domenico Di Stefano, President of the Consorzio di Tutela della Pesca di Leonforte IGP
"We managed to stand out on the market thanks to the eco-friendliness and health of a product that has not changed. It is not a fad or a trend, as the complex-yet-essential production process gives us peaches that are particularly healthy and good. Just think that no active principles can be found on the fruit. In our case, they do not exist because we are zero residue precisely due to the bagging technique. Production has accelerated over the past 10 years, going from 30 to 140 hectares because the markets have understood the huge added value of a product which we can define as truly unique."