Il lemon from Etna obtained the green light from the Ministry of Agriculture (MiPAAFT), on 18.10.18, in view of its recognition as IGP (Protected Geographical Indication).
Lemon of Etna IGP, cultivation and disciplinary
The cultivation area of the Etna citrus fruit is defined in the territories of the province of Catania that fall within the Ionian-Etna area, between the Alcantara river and the northern border of the capital. (1)
The production specification it imposes limits on the density of crops, among other criteria. (2) Harvesting is done by hand, during the summer months. This stimulates the re-flowering of the plant so that it gives rise to the 'verdelli', which represent production excellence from a qualitative point of view.
It is strictly forbidden the treatment of post-harvest lemons with fungicides or waxes. Production controls are entrusted to the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute (IZS) of Sicily.
Limone dell'Etna PGI, cultivars and peculiarities
The lemon of Etna PGI it belongs to the 'Femminello' or 'Monachello' cultivars, which are distinguished by their thin skin. Yellow in the primofiore (the citrus fruit harvested in winter), green in the verdelli (harvested in summer).
Juicy fruit with a characteristic aroma, with marked acidity and high content of total soluble solids, the Etna lemon thus expresses the volcanic nature of the soil where it is cultivated.
Renzo Pierpaolo Turco and Dario Dongo
Footnotes to the story
(1) The municipalities where citrus can be grown, in order to boast the protected geographical indication, are those of Aci Bonaccorsi, Aci Castello, Aci Catena, Aci Sant'Antonio, Acireale, Calatabiano, Castiglione di Sicilia, Fiumefreddo di Sicilia , Giarre, Mascali, Piedimonte Etneo, Riposto, Santa Venerina, San Gregorio di Catania, Valverde and Zafferana Etnea
(2) The agronomic criteria move from a limit to the density of crops. The maximum density is fixed at 1400 plants per hectare in the first six years of cultivation, 700 the following years