For the first time in ten years it promises to be a good chestnut season again. The Italian chestnut production, especially that from the Campania region, is flourishing again. At the Italian Agem Frutta, located in the province of Avellino, the season started earlier, around 10 September, with the La Bouche variety and the Serino Protected Geographical Indication in mid- October.
"Compared to last year, the quantities increased by at least 50%, the quality is good but there is also an abundance of small calibers (70-80). For this reason, the price of the Marrone di Serino Igp is steady and not decreasing, given the difficult availability of larger sizes. For the current season, we plan on handling more than 1000 tons of product and about 80 tons of PGI (Protected Geographical Identification) chestnuts" said Enzo Ingino, production manager of Agem Frutta based in Serino, in the province of Avellino.
Production manager Enzo Ingino and sales manager Giulia Ingino
Agem Frutta has been involved in the cultivation and marketing of chestnuts in Italy and abroad since ever. We work with many supply chains to achieve this. The company can boast a centuries-old family history and a unique and established cultivation process. It is now managed by brother Enzo and sister Giulia, who inherited the passion and tradition from their father Armando.
"The added value of our company is the craftsmanship, which has remained unchanged and is based on the original recipe. Despite the changes imposed by modern times, we continue to process chestnuts the way we have always done, because it is proven that in this way we can guarantee high quality and generate only 5% waste," said Giulia Ingino, sales manager.
After the curing process (hydrotherapy), the chestnuts are dried naturally for 3 to 4 days on planks of maple wood and with natural ventilation. During this time, the chestnuts are turned over with a shovel by employees. In this way, the chestnuts that have started the fermentation process can be removed. This is a process that costs a lot of labour and money, but it ensures chestnuts of high quality.
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"Something we are also very proud of is the Protected Geographical Indication for the Serino chestnut. We've been using this designation for three years now". Our chestnut is the only one in Italy to have both designations, that is the Marrone and Castagna di Serino Igp, because of its typical peel and taste".
"In Serino, where our company is located, the sweet chestnut has always had a symbolic value, as it represents our landscape heritage and is the basis of our economy. The chestnut groves provide crops, bring tourists to the region and shape our landscape. Italian chestnut growing has been endangered for years by the chestnut wasp, but this year we can look forward to the season with enthusiasm and can once again flourish," continued Giulia.
"We are satisfied with the trend of the season. We have noticed a greater demand for organic crops from Italy as well as Germany and Switzerland. I am very grateful for the cooperation with Coop Switzerland and the chains Metro, Supremme and Orma Frutta, because they have placed their trust in us. We will do everything we can to fulfill their requests. I would also like to thank the MD Spa chain, which appreciates the quality of our chestnuts and actually placed the Serino Igp on the market," explained Giulia.
"I have a dream and that is to found a consortium. In this way we can bundle the offer on a national scale and make the Serino variety. My thanks go to Cristiana Furiani of Op Geofur, my mentor, to whom I owe everything, and from whom I learned the importance of collaboration," concluded Giulia.