In the heart of the province of Taranto, surrounded by hills and ancient olive trees, the small town of Crispiano is known for the magnificent masserie that dot its surrounding countryside. These traditional farmhouses were built between the 15th and 19th centuries, and many of them have been renovated and returned to their original splendor. The local families around here used to grow a particular variety of tomato, selected centuries ago in Crispiano’s “Vallone,” the most fertile agricultural area, characterized by plots bordered by drystone walls.
The Crispiano Giallorosso Tomato (giallorosso means “yellow-red”) is round, with soft flesh and a thick, yellowish-orange skin, which never looks completely ripe. The flavor is pleasantly acidic, with a slight herbaceous aftertaste of tomato leaves. The seeds for new plants are saved from the fruits picked from the base of the plant. It is not a climbing tomato, and this makes the harvest—which starts towards the end of July and continues up until early September—more laborious. The fruits are arranged carefully in wooden crates and stored in the cellar, but they can also be tied into garlands known as nzerte and hung under the masseria’s porticoes. These so-called pomodori da serbo, tomatoes for storing, can keep throughout the winter and beyond.
Crispiano Giallorosso Tomatoes are excellent in salads, sauces and on top of frise (twice-baked ring-shaped breads), which are typically softened in water before being topped with fresh tomatoes, salt, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil.
The tomatoes are harvested from the end of July to the beginning of September. The stored tomatoes are available year-round
The Crispiano Giallorosso Tomato has survived thanks to a handful of producers who grow the variety on a few hectares of land. Sold fresh for a price that ranges from €1 to €3 per kilo, it is known and appreciated only by the older generations, who remember the tomato from their childhood.
The Presidium, which currently involves five producers, has been started to save the seeds of this heirloom variety and promote the tomatoes on the market so that the growers can receive a fair price.
Crispiano municipality, Taranto province, Puglia region
Presidium supported by
Municipality of Crispiano
Boccacci di Puglia
di Giuseppe Cito
Via Magazzino, 65
Tel.+39 328 0019073
Boccacci di Puglia
di Francesco Serio
Via Parini, 36-2
Tel. +39 339 7081664
Via Circonvallazione, 72
Tel. +39 349 0903392
Via Napoli, 13
Tel. +39 334 3571034