Bormida Valleys Moco

Slow Food Presidium

Italy

Liguria

Legumes

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Bormida Valleys Moco

Moco is a very unusual legume, which after various studies has been shown to belong to the family of the cicerchia or grass pea (Lathyrus sativus). The plant has whitish-blue flowers with red streaks, while the pods contain between one and three tiny seeds (just 4 to 6 millimeters long). White or marbled brown in color and irregular in shape, they look like small stones.
Thanks to some archeological finds, it seems likely that moco was being cultivated in the tuff-rich soils of the Bormida Valley as long ago as the Bronze Age (2000 BC). The first written documentation dates from the late 18th century and can be found in the State Archives of the Republic of Genoa. In the early 19th century moco was being widely cultivated between the deep ravines and green vales of the windswept valley, in particular on the Cairo Montenotte e Cengio highlands. Indeed, the inhabitants of Rocchetta, near Cairo, used to be known as the mangia mochi or “moco eaters.”
Moco was a food for countrypeople, particularly in years of famine, because of its important supply of nutrients (protein, fiber, starch, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorous). After the Second World War, industrial development in the area led to a gradual depopulation of the countryside. The few professional farmers who remained chose to grow legumes with a greater yield that required less manual work, like peas or beans.
The moco plant is hardy and tenacious, flourishing even in poor, infertile soil. Resistant to drought and low temperatures, it does not require chemical treatments for diseases or parasites. Sown by hand on the 100th day of the year, in the first half of April, it flowers in the first ten days of June then forms pods in mid-July. Scything must be done in the early hours of the morning, before the sun rises, to avoid the pods opening. The cut plants are then gathered into small sheaves and hung up to dry somewhere shady, in hay lofts or in well-ventilated porticoes. Threshing is carried out on the first Sunday after Ferragosto (August 15) and coincides with the moco festival. The leftover plants are cut up and used to fertilize the fields, while the seeds are carefully picked over by hand and packaged.
After soaking for at least 24 hours, moco is ready to be cooked and added to soups and salads. Its extremely delicate flavor distinguishes it from the more common cicerchia. The seeds can also be stone-ground into flour, used for pastries, pasta, breading and two traditional dishes: a farinata cooked in wood-burning ovens and panissa, either fried or cut into cubes and served with cherry tomatoes and spring onions.

Season

Moco is harvested between the end of July and early August, while the dried seeds and flour are available year-round.

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The revival of this legume began in 2012 thanks to the work of the Slow Food convivium, which had long been working to protect local biodiversity and already had success with the rediscovery of the Rocchetta pumpkin. After finding some moco seeds still being kept by a few elderly valley-dwellers, the convivium organized its distribution, involving small-scale farmers who immediately understood the importance of preserving this unique product, once such a staple of the local rural diet.
In 2016 moco boarded the Ark of Taste and two years later it was included on the list of the Traditional Food Products of the Region of Liguria.
The Presidium brings together small farms with the aim of reviving a product that could help raise the profile of the local area and have positive impacts on the local economy and the environment, given that moco cultivation does not require synthetic chemicals and boosts soil fertility. The Presidium works to involve producers in the entire Bormida Valleys area, particularly young farmers.



Production area
Bormida Valleys municipalities, particularly Cairo Montenotte, Cengio, Millesimo, Dego, Murialdo, Calizzano and Cosseria, Savona province, Liguria region

Supported by
This project is funded by CAF America thanks to the generosity of FedEx


Producers


Az. Agr. Molino Moretti
di Manuela Moretti
Via Regione Cavalli, 2
Spigno Monferrato (Al)
Tel. +39 347 1200952
molinomoretti@liberi.it

Marco Bolla
via Marchetta, 9
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 333 256 5475
marco.bolla@ingpec.eu

Elvio Bonino
via Meucci, 19
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 329 533 0569
elvio.bonino26@gmail.com

Maria Sandra Negro
via Santera, 37
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 333 3171588
mariasandra.negro@gmail.com

Sant’Anna
Corso Stalingrado, 103
Cairo Montenotte (Sv)
Tel. +39 328 8588103
alessandra.costa@omgman.eu
Slow Food Coordinator:
Gianpietro Meinero
Tel. +39 347 5946213
meinero@alice.it

Presidium Producers’ Coordinator:
Elvio Bonino
Tel. +39 329 533 0569
elvio.bonino26@gmail.com
The revival of this legume began in 2012 thanks to the work of the Slow Food convivium, which had long been working to protect local biodiversity and already had success with the rediscovery of the Rocchetta pumpkin. After finding some moco seeds still being kept by a few elderly valley-dwellers, the convivium organized its distribution, involving small-scale farmers who immediately understood the importance of preserving this unique product, once such a staple of the local rural diet.
In 2016 moco boarded the Ark of Taste and two years later it was included on the list of the Traditional Food Products of the Region of Liguria.
The Presidium brings together small farms with the aim of reviving a product that could help raise the profile of the local area and have positive impacts on the local economy and the environment, given that moco cultivation does not require synthetic chemicals and boosts soil fertility. The Presidium works to involve producers in the entire Bormida Valleys area, particularly young farmers.



Production area
Bormida Valleys municipalities, particularly Cairo Montenotte, Cengio, Millesimo, Dego, Murialdo, Calizzano and Cosseria, Savona province, Liguria region

Supported by
This project is funded by CAF America thanks to the generosity of FedEx


Producers


Az. Agr. Molino Moretti
di Manuela Moretti
Via Regione Cavalli, 2
Spigno Monferrato (Al)
Tel. +39 347 1200952
molinomoretti@liberi.it

Marco Bolla
via Marchetta, 9
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 333 256 5475
marco.bolla@ingpec.eu

Elvio Bonino
via Meucci, 19
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 329 533 0569
elvio.bonino26@gmail.com

Maria Sandra Negro
via Santera, 37
Cengio (Sv)
Tel. +39 333 3171588
mariasandra.negro@gmail.com

Sant’Anna
Corso Stalingrado, 103
Cairo Montenotte (Sv)
Tel. +39 328 8588103
alessandra.costa@omgman.eu
Slow Food Coordinator:
Gianpietro Meinero
Tel. +39 347 5946213
meinero@alice.it

Presidium Producers’ Coordinator:
Elvio Bonino
Tel. +39 329 533 0569
elvio.bonino26@gmail.com

Territory

StateItaly
RegionLiguria

Other info

CategoriesLegumes