The hardy Podolica cattle breed has ancient origins and is farmed in the southern Apennines, from Campania to Puglia to the hills of Calabria. It has a coat that ranges from gray to dark gray in color, though it’s generally lighter in color for the female. The horns, thin and light, are in a half-moon shape in the males and a lyre shape in the females.
It’s a hardy breed, easily adapting to steep terrain, it manages to graze where other breeds find it difficult, eating Mediterranean scrub, bushes, stubble, and undergrowth foliage. In the past it was primarily used as a work animal and only secondarily for its meat and milk. It produces small amounts of high-quality milk (around 1500 litres a year), which makes an excellent Caciocavallo cheese. Thanks to the open grazing the Podolica cattle can graze all year round; it doesn’t cope well with being restricted indoors. Its meat is flavorful and rich in vitamins and minerals. A high carotene content gives the fat a yellowish tinge, and because of this, and the slightly tougher texture compared to grain-feed beef, the meat does not get as much appreciation as it deserves.
The growth of Podolica cattle is also slower than other intensively-raised breeds. The calves grow less than 900 grams a day, or half as much as intensively-raised cows. This means that the costs for the producers are not reflected in the market price. The high quality of the meat is the result of a combination of factors: the genetic properties of the breed, its diet, how and where it is raised (on pastures free of pesticides or other chemical treatmeants) and proper handling of the the slaughter. The meat is lean, low in cholesterol, rich in essential fatty acids (like omega 3 and omega 6). The Podolica Cattle, if raised properly, may represent an important heritage for Southern Italian animal husbandry, in terms of recovery of marginal areas, difficult pastures that would otherwise go unused, and for the production of high-quality meat.
Podolica beef is available year-round
Sila plateau, Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone Provinces
Presidium supported by
Cosenza Provincial Authority, A.Pro.Zoo, Sila National Park
Via Giuseppe Verdi, 261
Montaldo Uffugo (Cs)
Tel. +39 0984 939613-333 6482301
The cooperative society A.pro.Zoo. brings together the following breeders Giovanni Basile, Giovanni Pisano, Angelo Ritacco, Mauro D'Acri, Pasquale Manfredi, Riccardo Durante, Angela Basile, Rosario Bevilacqua, Mario Favara, Michele Costabile, Domenico Chiarello, Ferdinando Fabiano, Antonino Fonsi, Luigi Fortino, Biagio Gallicchio, Giuseppe Iaquinta, Gianfranco Iaquinta, Carmine Ionà, Francesco Caputi heirs, Antonio Mancuso, Salvatore Mancuso, Concetta Marescalco, Carmine Mosca, Clara Riccardi, Armando Susanna, Antonio Somario, Giuseppe Tallarico, Matteo Tallarico, Riccardo Tristaino.
The meat can be purchased from affiliated retailers:
Eredi Rasalba Vena
Piazza Zumbini, 45
Tel. +39 0984 393792
Viale Europa, 113
Tel.+39 0984 48072
Tel. +39 0984 613571
Tel. +39 0966 1958002
Via del Progresso, 374
Lamezia Terme (Cz)
Tel. +39 0968 453943
Via Verdi, 40
Tel.+39 0984 846280
Vein and Top
Tel. +390984 393792