LA PERLA DEL SUD
is a family-run farm, which specializes in horticultural production (harvesting, packaging and marketing of products).The benefit of this kind of management lies in both the recovery of farming systems no longer in use, and the possibility of obtaining innovations in the production process which are in tune with choices that promote quality.The vegetables are grown on a surface of about 30,000 square meters. The farm is located in South Eastern Sicily, in a town called Vittoria, in the province of Ragusa; the crops are located in between Ragusa and Santa Croce Camerina, where the packaging process also takes place.The environment, characterized by a mild climate and a high solar radiation, allows the farm to grow first class quality products even in the winter.
HOW THE IDEA WAS BORN
Giombattista Campoccia, owner of “La Perla del Sud”, during a business trip in Verona noticed that smaller eggplants were grown in that region. This was such a revelation to him, that he began growing these in his own farm. He got in touch with the local “Ufficio di Assistenza tecnica di Vittoria dell’Ente di Sviluppo Agricolo” in Sicily through Dr Guglielmo Donzella. He was then advised of the existence of populations of eggplant with mini fruits that could be tried at the CRA of Pontecagnano Sezione di Monsampolo del Tronto.
WHERE IT WAS BORN
The farm is located in the heart of the Iblea area, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for some time now. The Baroque culture permeates the South East of Sicily, featuring in the palaces and churches, along the walks of the Ragusa countryside leading to the golden shores of its coasts; the very same paths where Inspector Montalbano investigations take place. Ragusa is considered to be one of the most economically prosperous and productive regions of Sicily, owing to its Baroque art treasures and its extraordinary wealth of aromas and flavours, so typical of this land. This mix of culture and cultivation, knowledge and flavours, is highly attractive to tourists, food-lovers and business people.
Video - La Perla del Sud
THE FIRST TRIALS
The “Istituto del Ministero per l’Agricoltura e l’Alimentazione”, now called C.R.A., stores several populations and types of the main horticultural species, for the purpose of using them to obtain a selection of plants with the best productive and qualitative characteristics.
Within the Eggplant (Solanum melongena) species there are a large variety of fruits:
- White fruits
There are many varieties of the mini fruit.
These were screened in order to identify the most suitable for greenhouse cultivation (1995), under the initiative of Dr Guglielmo Donzella and the “Sezione di Assistenza Tecnica Agricola dell’E.S.A. di Vittoria”. The first observations sparked the interest of “La Perla del Sud”, which decided to autonomously focus on the mini eggplant type. For this purpose, some of the varieties under examination were crossed with an old local eggplant population that was no longer being grown. From the results of these crossbreeds emerged the variety of mini eggplant currently known as “Perlina”. After many years of watching closely the behaviour of the plant in order to establish the agronomic and productive features, “La Perla del Sud” determined that the baby eggplant was worthy of being introduced to the consumer. This turned out to be the right choice. After overcoming the initial obstacles, “Perlina” has been recognized with various awards and has enjoyed great success at exhibitions and conventions.
Particular appreciation was received within the “Haute cuisine” environment. In order to sustain this success, “La Perla del Sud” decided to carry on the research through constant collaboration with the C.R.A. (Consiglio per la Ricerca e Sperimentazione in Agricoltura).