Lands of Carusi
THE SECRET OF AN EARLY FRUIT FROM GRANDPARENTS.
45 have signed up for the agricultural operator course, five have finished it and now 4 are left to defend and try to avoid the extinction of the Scillato apricot, a municipality at the foot of the Madonie park, in the province of Palermo . Here 1500 plants of a particular variety of apricot have been recovered: early, with small and often red-faceted fruit, very fragrant and with an intense flavor. "We have recovered - explains Alberto Battaglia - land that had been abandoned for over 20 years that our fathers abandoned because they did not allow an adequate yield by replacing them with olive trees". It was the grandparents who told young farmers the secrets of a traditional cultivation with a harvest that is done strictly by hand. The main problems are related to marketing because "the fruits are sensitive to handling and transport". Thus, the sale is limited to nearby markets. Now the association is trying to expand production "by recovering old plants also from our neighbors: this can be an alternative to the hunger for work that has plagued us for decades".
Alberto Battaglia 29 years old, Angelo Nicchi 22 years old, Giuseppe Oddo 32 years old and Giuseppe Quagliana 44 years old, are the four "carusi" from Scillato (boys in Sicilian) who give about a year they decided to join forces in order to rediscover the agricultural resources that have always characterized their territory and to restore some abandoned lands to cultivation by reactivating the production process of two particular local cultivars such as the Apricot of Scillato ( Slow Food Presidium) and the Orange Blonde of Scillato. “ There they call Carusi but we are growing and every day that passes we do our best to cultivate our goal, to rediscover the earth, because our future depends on the earth and the work of the arms. " .
In 2014 they began to clean up all the land at their disposal to restore and conserve two precious biodiversity at risk of extinction. In the meantime, they set aside a small plot of land for the production of seasonal vegetables to be allocated to the local community, but they immediately realize that in addition to the recovery of abandoned lands, it is necessary to start from scratch the planting of new trees as an initial source of renewal. They begin to produce fresh products but after the first harvest they understand that the best way to remain standing is the multifunctionality of the company so they activate the path of transformation of their products into jams and marmalades. “ We currently have a company size of about 6 hectares of land with diversified production of oranges, apricots and olives, but what we aspire to is that the entire territory of our municipality becomes a driving force for development and hope for the future for young people who want to get involved.