Vesuvius Piennolo Cherry Tomatoes
The Piennolo Cherry Tomato owes its name to the Vesuvian farming tradition of braiding the bunches of cherry tomatoes around a piece of string tied in a ring, so as to make a large bunch (the piennolo), which is hung in a dry and ventilated place. The tomatoes can thus be picked off the piennolo as required during the following months. This preservation technique has been handed down to the present time because it allows consuming fresh tomatoes even after the summer season. Thanks to its exceptional qualities, the piennolo cherry tomato has been recognized as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). The tomatoes are grown in non-irrigated land and have particularly thick skin, both factors that favor the preservation throughout the winter and, in ideal circumstances, right up to the Easter following the harvest. The Vesuvius Piennolo Cherry Tomato has a tick, almost crunchy, skin, and a very firm and compact flesh with a low water content. Its exceptional taste is due to a wonderful combination of sugary substances and mineral salts. Subsequently, the tomatoes acquire a slightly bitter aftertaste from being preserved in the piennoli. The area for the cultivation of the piennolo cherry tomato covers all the municipalities within the perimeter of the Vesuvius National Park lying at an altitude ranging between 150 and 450 metres above sea level. All the agricultural processes (transplanting, farming, weeding, harvesting, etc.) are carried out by hand because of the uneven and terraced terrain, which hinders mechanization. As there is no irrigation, the yields are very low, not exceeding 10 tons/ha. Finally, the Slow Food association has created a presidium to safeguard the piennolo cherry tomato, as well for other traditional high-quality products.