The cultivation of pears in the area of Metapontino, in the province of Matera, dates back to at least the 18th century and is mentioned in 19th century historical documents. Pears trees were once part of the distinctive landscape of this hilly region. Along the perimeters of the cereal fields, farmers would graft wild pear trees onto different pear ecotypes, and use the harvests to feed their families and animals. Local varieties, including Muscarelle, Muone, Lardere, Sciesciuu, Granete and San Giuvan, boast excellent sensory qualities. Until the 1950s, some varieties were sold through intermediaries as far away as Naples.
But the most interesting and widespread pear in the Sinni Vally area was the Signora o Signura. With its delicate aromas and texture, it is best eaten at the moment of harvest, and excellent dried or in syrups and jams. It is small in size, varying in weight from 35 to 60 grams; yellow in color with intense red specks when harvested which develop on the skin when overripe; white flesh; and is incredibly fragrant when ripe.
The pear harvest starts in July, and continues progressively. Conserved, they can be eaten all year round.
Today a Presidium aims to protect the remaining trees in the area and promote the launch of new cultivations of the Signora Pear, to provide an income to local agriculture through the promotion of traditional production and its transformation.
Nova Siri, Rotondella, Valsinni, San Giorgio, Tursi and Colobraro, Matera province
Presidium supported by
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Associazione culturale S.E.I. sul Sinni
Via Giovanni XXIII, 9
Tel. 0835 1825549
The 18 farmers are
Domenico Dimatteo, Patrizia Donadio, Pasquale Germano, Alberto Manolio, Vincenzo Montesano, Nicola Parziale Giuseppina Toscano di Rondella; Alberto Lateana, Giulia Pitrelli, Mario Truncellito e Giuseppe Violante di Nova Siri; Domenico Mele, Fabio Liguri e Domenico Mele di Valsinni; Teresa Bernardo e Concetta La Rocca di Colobraro; Francesco Montemurro di San Giorgio Lucano; Giuseppe Viviano di Tursi (all in Matera province)
Producers also processing the pears are:
Contrada Trisaia Pantanello, 7
Tel. +39 0835 848090
+39 338 7878480
Masseria del Maresciallo
di Domenico Mele
Contrada Sorbaro, 2
tel. 329 443174
Zona Mortellito, 2
Tel. +39 0835 848133
+39 349 4249621