The Zagarise Siccagno cherry tomato is an ecotype that was selected thanks to the constant commitment of farmers in the hinterland of the Ionian belt, a territory with particular ecological conditions. Its was first cultivated on the Presila Catanzaro hills, in the midst of olive groves, and climbs up to 800 and even 1000 meters above sea level.
It is a small fruit (with an average weight of 60 grams), it has a rounded, smooth or slightly ribbed shape and an intense red colour. Thanks to the very limited amount of water in the fruit and its thick skin, it is excellent for being stored over winter. Before the end of the second world war period, the ecotypes of Seccagno (also called Siccagno or dried tomato), were very widespread, not only in Calabria and Sicily, but throughout Southern Italy up to Lazio: they were harvested as soon as they ripened and kept hanging in braids for all of winter.
The plants are less than one meter tall and, once the fruits form and reach a certain weight, they collapse on themselves. Recently, to facilitate the harvesting process, wooden supports have been used and become a widespread practice. Cultivation takes place using dry farming techniques, i.e., it does not require any irrigation. This is also the reason it requires a lot of manual work: to avoid the loss of water in the soil, the surface soil must be hoed very often.
The Zagarise Siccagno cherry tomato has an intense, sweet and sour taste, a lot of pulp and a high sugar content. It is eaten mostly fresh, in salads and sauces, or transformed into paste, peeled tomatoes, slices or dried tomatoes. When the productive season comes to an end, the fruits that will not ripen any further are harvested and used to prepare “u salaturu”, where tomatoes and green olives are pickled, other vegetables and aromas such as garlic and fennel are also added; each family has its own recipe.
The goal is to support the work and commitment of a community of small producers to save and promote a product of great value for the local gastronomy and culture, but also the cultivation of a crop which has minimal environmental impact: this ecotype, in fact, does not need irrigation and does not require chemical treatments, because it is not very susceptible to diseases.
Municipality of Zagarise, Sila National Park, Catanzaro
Arssa – Regional Agency for Agricultural Development Services
The Municipality of Zagarise
Via della canonica, 41
Tel. +39 339 2536526
Via Milano, 1
Tel. +39 338 4618062
II traversa Torino, 2
Tel. +39 339 2769290
Via Milano, 33
Tel. +39 334 3836418
Tel. +39 339 4738120
Presidium Slow Food Representative
Tel. 338 6612007