Sbergia peach

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The sbergia is a white-fleshed, nectarine-type peach from the Niceto Valley at the foot of the Peloritani Mountains in Messina Provice, northeastern Sicily (a related variety, the merendella peach, grows in Calabria, on the other side of the Strait of Messina). It is a small peach with smooth, greenish-white, red-speckled skin that ripens to reddish orange. The pulp is juicy, fragrant, and very sweet, with a unique flavor resulting from the local climate and soil conditions of the Niceto Valley. Sbergia peaches can be consumed fresh (they are delicious immersed in wine) or made into syrups and jams and are also ideal for use in traditional desserts. Harvest takes place in July and August.

Antonio Venuti’s 1516 treatise De agricultura opusculum indicates that sbergia peaches arrived in the Niceto Valley in the 16th century, introduced by the Arabs that had lived in the area since 965 AD. Indeed, the name sbergia derives from the Arabic word al-berchiga or al-barquq (“plum”), which became alberges in French during the Angevine rule of Sicily. Today, sbergia peaches are grown in limited quantities and are sold only in the provinces of Messina, Catania, and Reggio Calabria. Cultivation of this variety is declining, in part due to its short shelf-life, which makes the fruits expensive to store properly.

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Production area:Niceto Valley