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Old March 20, 2017   #1
Malabar Circle
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Florence, italy
Posts: 17
Default Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio (Spongillo)

As promised:
The Piennolo (sometimes called Piennelo or Spongillo) is since 2009 a protected designation of origin (PDO), which is the best recognition that can happen to a tomato in Europe. It is a small red oval-shaped tomato, with side wrinkles and a characteristic pointy top. It is grown in Campania in the municipalities part of the Vesuvius National Park, on the slopes of the vulcano on dark sandy terrain. between150 and 450 m of altitude: growing tomatoes is an activity fit for a wonderful protected area like this one, since it needs little irrigation and only manual labour.It is one of the most ancient prdoucts of Campania's agriculture, loved by Neapolitan people so much that they honored it by including it in their traditional Christmas creche.
Piennolo is sold both fresh and conservato al piennolo ("preserved by the pendulum"): it is an ancient way of preserving tomatoes and it consists in binding different bunches of tomatoes together to form a larger bunch (the piennolo), which is bung in ventilated rooms, thus preserving it for the whole winter. As time goes by, the tomatoes lose part of their moist and gain an exceptional flavour. This preservation method is made possible by the peculiar features of the Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP: a thick skin, a fruit well bound to its stalk, a high concentration of sugar and acids which maintain its taste through the long preservation period. These features are tightly linked to the volcanic land it is grown on.
If you grow them home, you must be conscious that they will never taste as the ones grown on the vulcano, but you still get a fairly good tomato.
Great for cooking it is definitely a keeper, meaning if harvested in august you will be able to use it well until jan or feb.

Although not a f1 hybrid, i found it to be very resistant to diseases, very prolific and bears fruit until the first week of october (in florence).
It must be grown vertically up to 80cm (stake it), the fruits must not touch the ground. Even if not common, i grow them in pots where i try to use the finest type of earth i can get. All my other tomatoes go directly into the soil. I'll post some pics later on during the season.
I attach a pic of very young plants. Notice the Piennolo, above growing standard tomato leaves, as compared to the all-american potato leafed Brandyboy below.

Make sure to check the youtube video i embed to get an idea of how it looks alive.
Malabar Circle
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