Atina Bean

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The Atina bean is a local ecotype developed in the Valle do Comino, in the province of Frosinone in Lazio.
In the 1853 registry, two varieties are noted: the red and the white bean; this last is considered one of the most prized, and is grown in larger quantities than the red bean.
Atina beans are eaten mostly by farmers and less well-off classes, but only a small part of what is grown is destined for sale.
In the second half of the 1800s, after the wave of agricultural reforms to improve farm production in the new Italian monarchy, innumerable canals were built to direct the Melfa river waters to the cultivated lands. The Atina bean fields were thus irrigated: early in the morning, before dawn.
Sowing was at the end of June until mid-July, immediately after grain harvesting. When the green husk turns yellow, usually around the end of September, harvesting by hand begins.
This bean is slightly elliptical and flat in shape: the seeds never get over one centimetre in length. Atina beans are opaque, and its skin is very thin. After they are cooked, the skin is very soft, and unlike other beans, they do not need to be soaked before cooking. It is one of the main ingredients in local dishes, for example “Pappafuocchie”, a Roman pasta and beans.
Since the Fifties, Atina bean production is less and less, because the local farmers have started replacing this variety with other, standard ones. In the past few years, thanks to those farmers who have kept these seed variety, it is being slowly rediscovered.

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Nominated by:Orlando Bellincampi