Nuci de Motta
Walnuts are the main tree crop of Motta Camastra, with the main area of cultivation found between the two adjacent valleys but also in the lowlands near Gole dell’Alcantara, in northeastern Sicily. Walnut trees are cultivated at an elevation of 700-800 metres above sea level. Thanks to the favorable microclimate, the farmers of Motta have always found ideal conditions for production over the years, which confirms this as a traditional product with respect to the numerous national and international walnut producers.
Harvest is done manually, by means of beating the trees, between September and October. The nuts are washed with water to remove dirt and tannin marks from the shell. No additives or chemicals are used in cleaning and processing the nuts. The fertilizers used by the farmers are organic and vegetal, and parasites are combatted with natural methods. Weeding is done mechanically.
Motta Camastra walnuts are consumed dried or ground, and can be converted into an oil that is used both as food and in making oil paints. To make walnut wine, the very young fruits, buds, and leaves are macerated in alcohol. Green (unripe) walnuts can be used to make nocino. Walnuts to be sold as nuts need to be left to dry on a well-ventilated surface, where they are turned every 2 days until they are completely dry (normally after at least 10 days). They are then placed in sacks and stored in a dry, dark place.
The three walnut cultivars that characterize production in Motta Camastra are the Pacenzia, Panuzzara, and Currò. The Pacenzia walnut takes its name from the first person who planted this variety in the area of Motta Camastra. Its fruits are of medium size. The Panuzzara takes its name from its large size: Reaching a diamter of 6 centimetres, the nut resembled a “little loaf of bread.” The Currò variety, also named after the first person who planted it in the Motta area, produces medium-large nuts.