Gemona Cinquantino Bianco Corn

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Corn growing started catching on in Friuli region in the late 16th century, and in the early 17th century it was already a popular crop, whose production was way more abundant than any other cereal. Since this species was so highly malleable, it was then possible to select some varieties that managed to fit in different soils; some other varieties, with a short growth cycle, were also selected in order to sow them even after the autumn-winter cereal harvest. These varieties are also known as quarantine or cinquantine (40 or 50 type variety): obviously, because of the Friuli’s weather, these do not ripe in forty or fifty days. For instance, cinquantino corn is used as green fodder for livestok after 50 days. The corn kernels are white, spherrical, with no rostrum and with a vitrous rift. The cob of the corn is white. The stalk is cone-shaped. The corncob is 15 cm long, tops, with 10-12 kernel rows. The plant is 95 cm tall, on average. The sowing procedure starts in May, as soon as the weather allows to; the sowing soil just receives organic fertilizers. The cinquantino corn usually alternates with leguminous plants, tubers and green manure crops. The harvest is performed by hand because of the reduced size of the parcels where this corn variety is grown, and machines may damage both corncobs and kernels. Kernels are picked by hand, by pinpointing the plants that best withstood bad weather, with no patogens and that were not attacked by parasites. Corncobs are sundried and then preserved in air-conditioned rooms. Cinquantino corn flours are not very popular, but they can be bought (directly from growers, in general) and used to make traditional dishes, such as pan di sorc (a Slow Food Presidium today) or polenta. The historical production area used to be located in Friuli’s low plains and western Friuli; the few remaining growers are all in the Gemona’s area today. The interest for cinquantino corn has risen back again in the last few years, and the hope is to grow them back not to lose this heritage completely.

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Friuli Venezia Giulia

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Cereals and flours