Referred to as “accio” in dialect, Gesualdo celery is a local variety that is grown near the village of Gesualdo in Irpinia, on the ridge between the Ufita valley and the Calore valley. Thanks to the fact that the soil in this area is constantly exposed to the sun, this celery has bright green ribs. The leaves are also green, while the stem is lighter in colour, almost tending towards white. The steams are full and rounded, with a small diameter ranging from 3 to 6 centimetres. The plant reaches a height ranging from 70 to 100 centimetres when it is ripe. The agricultural traditions in Gesualdo have very ancient roots because the land is rich in water and fertile soils. Farmers in the area – who have always specialised in horticulture – are nicknamed “menestrari” (vegetable growers). A tradition that remained solid until the 1980 earthquake. Back then about fifty families were devoted to the cultivation of vegetables which they then sold in the local markets and in some neighbouring towns. Today, this number of families has drastically reduced.
Gesualdo’s “accio” is sown in mid-January and, after about three weeks, the first shoots begin to sprout. Towards the end of April the seedlings are transplanted to an open field and are managed with techniques that have low environmental impacts: crops are planned with three-year rotations of legumes, fodder and cereals, weeds are removed mechanically or by hand and the use of chemicals to remove weeds is not practiced, organic fertilisers are used to fertilise the land, to defend the crops from disease and infestations, the criteria which have been provided by the integrated production specification that has been created by the Campania Region are adopted as a minimum, but most farmers prefer to use organic control methods and active ingredients of natural origin. Regardless of the criteria, this is a rustic and vigorous plant, which is rarely attacked by fungi and parasites. They are harvested between June and July; the best plants are selected and left in the fields until the plants produce seeds, so as to guarantee the production of seedlings for the following season. Once harvested, it is common practice to rinse the celery in the marble basins so that the fresh water turns green from the plant.
The flavour of this ancient variety of celery is sweet, which is why it is excellent in pinzimonio or in salads, often in combination with freselle with siccagni tomatoes. In the past it was also used for decoctions and herbal teas due to its diuretic and purifying properties.
The celery is harvested from June to July
Gesualdo municipality, in the Avellino province
Irpinia Hills Condotta of Ufita and Taurasi; Cooperativa Arca 2000; Associated CSRs
The Gesualdo municipality
Torre dei Bianchi
Tel. +39 333 1733032
Bioludi Nadia Savino
Contrada Fontana Tassola
Tel. +39 345 1195789
Cooperativa Sociale Terra Madre
Via San Cosmo, 6
Tel. +39 347 9174248-340 2665376
Antonio Di Fronzo
Via Salvatore, 98
Tel. +39 347 2857426
di Carinta Lepore
Via San Silvestro
Tel. +39 334 8433234