Albicocca di Galàtone

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

A few steps from the Ionian coast, there’s the city of Galàtone, which used to be one of the most important agricultural hub in the province of Lecce. Until the first postwar period, Galàtone was also an important commercial exchange facility between farmers and traders, the latter thus distributing the commodities in the northern areas of Puglia.
Due to emigration to northern Italy and new products coming from Africa and Spain, the local cultivation of apricots was eventually abandoned, while replacing crops with more profitable vineyards and olive trees.

Galàtone apricots come from very few trees, mainly concentrated in two medium-sized orchards and in family gardens. They are an early and small variety, as large as nuts and surprisingly fragrant. They are also very soft and sweet to the taste – a major disadvantage though when it comes to exporting them to other regions in Italy.
Like all old fruit varieties, it is a very long-lived product: Galàtone apricot trees start bearing fruits three years after planting and continue to do so well beyond fifty years. On the other hand, modern varieties of apricots – more suitable for state-of-the-art agriculture – have a productive life of just seven to ten years.

A legend attributes the origin of this apricot to the Templar knights – in medieval times, they brought these apricots back from the Middle-East, in particular in Lecce and Otranto.
The origin of apricots is, in fact, to be found in Armenia, therefore historians have unanimously agreed on this theory related to the Middle Ages and the holy war waged by Christianity.

The local apricot trees traditionally bear fruits in the first fortnight of June.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)



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