The Marina pumpkin of Chioggia (suca baruca or marina de Ciosa) is one of the products that best represents the long standing fruit and vegetable tradition of the Venetian Lagoon.
The influence of the sea on the lagoon climate has in fact contributed positively to the local agriculture and has contributed to the emergence of some crops, such as the sea pumpkin. The Marina pumpkin of Chioggia is also mentioned by Carlo Goldoni in one of his best known works, the “Baruffe Chiozzotte”: the reason for the brawls in this story stem from a piece of cooked pumpkin.
This variety of pumpkin does not like low temperatures and requires a very hot temperature to grow, therefore it is grown immediately after harvesting spring vegetables from the garden, such as onions or early radicchio. Furthermore, it is a crop that uses little soil, does not require a lot of attention and that offers cover to the sandiest soils thanks to its large leaves.
The Marina pumpkin of Chioggia is sown between April and May, a light weeding is done after planting, thereby eliminating the weeds until the first sprouts appear. The crop is harvested manually once the pumpkin reaches the right size. Harvest takes place between the end of August and the month of September. The pumpkin has a very long shoot and is a large fruit. It is round with a flattened top and bottom. The segments are very pronounced, and the peel varies in colour: from dark green to a greyish colour. One of the most noticeable features is the very lumpy skin, which makes it difficult to peel. The pulp is thick, yellow-orange in colour and is very sugary and tasty.
In the kitchen, the Marina pumpkin of Chioggia is used in many different ways: boiled, baked, stewed, fried or in saor (a particular Venetian way of cooking, which was used as a way of preserving food). It is also used in the preparation of soups, purees and risottos. The best way to use the pumpkin is to make gnocchi, thanks to its thick, turgid and floury pulp.
Due to its long shelf life and durability, in the past it has represented the basis of nutrition of less affluent classes, who could stock up on it during the winter when food from the garden was scarce.
Until the 1970s, the pumpkin was mainly eaten baked in the oven and sold in streets and alleyways. Today, its consumption has significantly decreased, leaving room for new varieties such as butternut pumpkins or others that have a small fruit, which is a quality aspect that is highly appreciated by consumers and large retailers. The Marina pumpkin can be found in local markets (in Chioggia, Cavarzere, Cona or Rialto in Venice) or in some restaurants and agritourism locations that offer local vegetables.
The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, Directorate General of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n ° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change “, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017