“Pedasini cipollari e pescatori”: this is how the inhabitants from the town of Pedaso in the province of Fermo, on the Marche coast, just above San Benedetto del Tronto are known.
The origin of the nickname derives from the main activities and resources in the area, where on the one hand there is the Adriatic sea, which is rich in seafood and on the other, the Valle dell’Aso, an inland area characterised by sandy soils, crossed by the Aso river which is optimal for the cultivation of onions.
And it is actually the sandy soil that has given the characteristic flattened shape to the Pedaso onion which, thanks to the mild climate of the Adriatic coasts, with warm but windy summers, finds the ideal conditions for its growth and development here. There is evidence in this area of large plots of land that were cultivated with onions dating back to the early 1800s. The Pedaso railway station was a well-known hub for the sale and marketing of this variety of red onion. The Pedaso flat red onion has a large bulb, it weighs around 180 grams, it has a bright red colour tending towards purple on the outside and it is white on the inside. It is very aromatic and rather sweet, with a persistent but delicate flavour. It is crunchy and very digestible.
The cultivation cycle of this variety is very long: the producers take two years to grow the final product, as they begin the process strictly from the reproduction of the seed. The "mother" onions are selected during the harvest period (between June and September), put in wooden boxes and placed in a dark environment if possible, in order to allow proper germination. Towards September / October they are planted in the ground. The bulbs usually reach a height of about one meter and form a tuft or "bacioc" with many small greenish-white flowers. There are seeds inside these flowers that, in July / August, reach maturity. They are placed for 2 to 3 days on a cloth in the sun, the drying is then completed in a shady and well ventilated area for the next 20 days. To extract the seed, the tufts are rubbed by hand and placed in a container full of water to check their quality: the heavier "good" seed settle on the bottom. The resulting product is once again left to dry in the sun for three or four days.
Sowing takes place in August / September, but the seedlings will be ready to be transplanted in March / April. During the growth phase, the plant does not require major intervention, just irrigation as needed. Complete maturation is achieved when the stem begins to dry and folds on itself, there is a method called "smannatura" which is also highly recommended, which consists of folding the stem while it is still green, this allows the plant to steal nutrients from the leaf and allows it to concentrate on growing the onion bulb. Once harvested, the product must be left out in the field for a few hours to dry, after which the product is stored in a dry place away from heat sources.
Thanks to its sweetness and high digestibility, the Pedaso flat red onion is delicious when consumed either raw or cooked. The traditional dish for which they are used for is certainly a mussel stew, where seafood is cooked using flat red onions that have been finely chopped and fried as the base of the sauce. They are also excellent when they are preserved in oil, pickled, in agrodolce and as a compote. Recently they have also been used for the production of cosmetics: onion extract has remarkable antibacterial, softening and moisturising properties.
Harvest begins in the month of June and continues to increase until September.
Municipality of Pedaso and some neighbouring territories in the Municipalities of Altidona, Campofilone, Lapedona and Moresco (province of Fermo).
The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies
Municipality of Pedaso
The presidium of the Pedaso Flat Red Onion is financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.
di Yuri Marchionni e Isabella Cocci
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Di Mattia Di Nicolo'
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Az. agr. Andrea Ferretti
Via Lungo Aso
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di Valerio Pierantozzi
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