September has arrived and it's time to harvest the Apulian almond.
The Apulian almond is the precious seed of the almond tree, a plant native to Asia cultivated on the Apulian territory since ancient times.
The Apulian almond harvest takes place between August and September, first of all collecting the fruits that have fallen from the trees.
Under the trees there are large sheets on which I fall the almonds.
To facilitate this operation, the branches are beaten with large sticks, always trying not to stress the plant too much.
The phase of harvesting the Apulian almond is followed by a phase in which the almonds are deprived of the husk, a fleshy shell that wraps the seed on the outside, and then a drying phase follows.
Toritto's Almond: the colllection of the finest Apulian almond
The almonds of Puglia are certainly among the best in Italy and in the world.
They are distinguished by very important sweetness and nutritional properties and among these the Apulian almond grown in the small town of Toritto, in the province of Bari, is certainly the most precious.
The Toritto almond is particularly buttery and excellent for sweet preparations, such as almond pastries.
In Toritto the cultivation of almonds does not have excessively ancient origins: just before the unification of Italy, the Toritto area was not yet reclaimed.
This left fertile ground for brigands, who found refuge here.
To solve this problem of degradation, it was decided to start the cultivation of Apulian almond, which seemed perfect for a land made fertile by a mix of humus deposited over millennia and the natural breeze of the blades, shallow erosive furrows, typical of the Apulian landscape.
The result was amazing: the land of Toritto began to offer a tasty and delicious Apulian almond, soon becoming the undisputed symbol of the city.
The harvest of the Toritto almond is only the final moment of a process that in reality never has either a beginning or an end.
In the almond groves the work is circular: in October we start with the ancient art of pruning plants, in winter the trees will bloom and immediately afterwards they will be filled with leaves and small almonds.
The harvest will then begin in September: even in Toritto the branches are struck with long chestnut wood poles, which do not damage the plant at all.
At that point the Apulian almond will be spread out in the sun, to dry, filling almost all the pavements of Toritto.
In the historic center, the sidewalks are very wide and were built in this way precisely to put the Toritto almond in the sun.
Those dried seeds will then be used for various preparations, including the line of vegetable cheeses from Fattoria della Mandorla, unique products in the world.
Collecting the Apulian almond is an ancient tradition, a story of passion and dedication that the Apulian farmers have passed down from father to son.
The task of local companies is not to distort this delicate process, and to keep it intact and sustainable, respectful of the environment that gives us the best Apulian almond ever.