Ancient barley of the Belluno Valleys

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

The cultivation of the ancient barley of the Belluno valleys used to be a testament to a centuries-old tradition, but at the end of the XX century – due to modern corn hybrids – it began losing importance and eventually almost disappeared.
Only since 1995, a group of farmers has been doing a great job recovering this very crop.
Today, the production area stretches to the Ladin area of Fodom and to the Belluno and Feltre valley bottom. The ancient native barley seeds were recovered thanks to the passion and the thorough research carried out by the farmers at La Fiorita Cooperative and the Agricultural Institute of Feltre, supported by the Province and the Mountain Communities which had shown a renewed interest in mountain cereals.

With the official acknowledgement of this very barley as a Slow Food Presidium, the cultivation of these ancient seeds threatened of extinction was eventually rediscovered, also in terms of protection of the local territory and its remarkable cultural heritage.

The ancient barley of the Belluno valleys is, in fact, a variety suitable for the harsh mountain climate, rustic and ideal for organic cultivation. However, the yield is particularly low. The seeds, shelled in stone in the old still existing “pestins”, are used to prepare the traditional barley soup, but also as a substitute for coffee, or even as flour for bread and dough; last. But not least, they’re currently cultivated for producing malt for the local breweries.

Today, there are 15 small companies belonging to La Fiorita Agricultural Cooperative; the latter consistently manages the phases of cultivation, processing and sale of highly appreciated “farm-to-table” products. The Agricultural Institute of Feltre, in collaboration with the Province of Belluno, takes care of the experimental phases for the protection and identification of this ancient variety of barley.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)



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