Tomatoes from Belmonte: all about the Calabrian vegetable
The "giant" tomato from Belmonte, originally from the Americas, was brought to Italy at the beginning of the 20th century by Guglielmo Mercurio, an emigrant from the Calabrian town returning from the United States. The particular climate and the territorial conformation made the product assume, with the passing of time, the characteristics that distinguish it today.
The ecotype comes in two different types, the "Cuore di Bue" (Ox's Heart) and the "Gigante" (Giant). It is grown in the territory of Belmonte Calabro and replicated in areas with conditions similar to those in the small centre of the Cosenza province. This wonderful vegetable can only be found on the local market.
The "Cuore di Bue", the most appreciated type by consumers, is pink and turns red when fully ripe. The "Gigante" has the typical shape of a salad tomato and unlike the "Cuore di Bue" it has a larger size that can reach 1.5 kg.
The plant, which easily exceeds two metres in height, produces good fruit when grown in the open field. Its production cycle is limited to the spring-summer period. The particular climatic conditions of the Belmonte area give the product a higher quality than other tomatoes.
The indissoluble bond with the territory is a competitive advantage that puts the area in a condition of undeniable superiority over potential competitors. The hills that protect from the cold and wind and warm the crops, as the sea does incessantly, the mild climate that favours early transplanting, the nutrient-rich subsoil and the pure waters are just some of the characteristics of the territory that facilitate the breeding of tomato plants.
Tomato growers turn to local markets and most of them sell their product on wooden stalls along State Road 18, which is very popular with tourists.