BRIEF HISTORY AND TRADITION
According to the De Condolle - Swiss botanist of the 1800s, the bean originally from the East Indies and the Americas, was cultivated in Casalnuovo, later called Casalbuono, since the beginning of its foundation in the Middle Ages. The seeds were then brought here by the inhabitants of ancient Cesariana when they moved here.
* from various news from Cav. M. Calabria, mayor (1956-64, 1970-75)
The Casalbuonese soils of alluvial origin, particularly loose and fresh, bathed by the crystalline waters of the Calore river (Lucan), have always lent themselves very well to the cultivation of this extraordinary product, becoming today renowned places of production.
Another aspect that contributes to the quality of the crop is the hilly localization of the Municipality (661m above sea level) which allows during the summer months to have temperatures difficult to exceed 35 ° C, a value which, if higher, could be detrimental to the cultivation causing drop of the pods, difficulty of fruit set, anthesis problems.
This product has represented the quintessential protein source for generations since, for many years, meat was mostly a rare support for sick days or a Sunday mirage. Precisely for this reason the bean was renamed "the meat of the poor".
On a daily basis, the beans were cooked without a bain-marie and cold water was never added so as not to shock the bean which otherwise peeled and allowed the pulp to escape. They were cooked near the fire, in a terracotta pot because "they come from the earth and die in the earth". In the pignatta it was also possible to put beans (first) and potatoes (later in small pieces).
* Prof. Giovanni Novellino, teacher, researcher of history and local traditions, of Casalbuono
In Casalbuono the beans represented a source of economic sustenance for various families in the country.
In fact, they served both as a bargaining chip to buy basic necessities such as bread, milk, oil and anything else (in what was commonly referred to as "barter") and as a precious source of economic revenue.
The phases following the harvest of the bean represented and still today represent, a sort of ritual, an occasion to gather and spend time together, perhaps to "ngignare" and try the new wine.
U "Scucchiulà i fasul", that is the barking, the beating with a stick, the cu cleaning "cirnicchio" and the definitive hand cleaning on the kitchen table after dinner in the long winter evenings, are a real ritual.
Traditional is also the preparation of the dish par excellence of Casalbuono that is: "a 'layanə e fasulə", and the organization of the Bean Festival ", born in 1980 and annually revived with the passion and enthusiasm of many Casalbuonesi.
The production area of the beans called “Casalbuono beans” is bounded by the course of the Calore river and includes the “Vallone Secco in the Municipality of Casaletto Spartano, the entire administrative territory of the Municipality of Casalbuono, up to the“ Ponte Porcile ”area along the river margins in the Municipality of Montesano sulla Marcellana.
The environmental conditions of the production area of beans with the "beans of Casalbuono" are typically from the Mediterranean hill.
The lands suitable for the cultivation of "Casalbuono beans", located above 600 m s.l.m. They are fresh deep and fertile with a good water retention capacity, with a tendency to alkaline reaction of average constitution with the presence of sand around 30%.
The climate is relatively mild because it is influenced by the flow of the valley of the Calore river; there are not usually excessive temperature changes, while there is a high nocturnal humidity. Furthermore, the cultivation areas are well sheltered from the cold north winds and include the presence of numerous natural springs that ensure sufficient water supply for most small family gardens.
Cultivation techniques must comply with the following methods:
- Soil preparation:
Cultivation must be carried out with manual sowing or with a seeder where possible, for the determined growth ecotypes (Cannellini, Tabaccanti), from the first decade of June until the middle of July, with a density of about 12-20 plants per square meter, on rows 50-60 cm apart and with seeds arranged at an average depth of 3-4 cm and spaced 6-7 cm on the row for the Cannellini and 4-5 cm for the Tabaccanti (this last ecotype can be used for sowing on hard soil or with minimal processing, ie as an interlayer crop after barley or early harvested wheat in what is commonly called Casalbuono sowing “'nda ristoccia”, that is the soil with the residues of autumn / winter cereal, prepared with a irrigation at the end of June a rest of 3 days and subsequent sowing). The preparation of the seedbed is a very important phase as it is necessary to ensure that the soil is very well administered and not subject to crust as this is a very serious impediment to the emergence of the bean which, having epigeal germination, presents seedlings of extreme fragility with very low piercing power. Then a meticulous preparation of the seedbed will be done with plowing or digging of the depth of 30 cm followed by a harrowing through which the manure may be administered. During the early stages of the cycle the seedlings are hoed to control the development of weeds between the rows while the control is manual inside the row. Regarding climbing ecotypes with indeterminate growth must find supports on which to wrap the stems, in this second case the cultivation technique changes also due to the fact of having plants with scalar maturation and with a longer crop cycle than those with determined growth. The sowing is carried out from the beginning of May until the middle of June, with the technique of “postarelle sowing”, that is in holes 40 cm apart and with a diameter of 30 cm, 5-7 seeds are placed in a circle, with a center a wooden support of local origin, which will be the foothold for the plants. Alternatively, after working the soil the seeds are placed at a distance of 7-10 cm on rows spaced about 80-100 cm and assisted by local wood stakes, or supports made of nylon nets up to 2, 5 meters, with quadrangular links of about 10 cm, supported by wooden poles spaced 2 m apart. The scalar bloom produces a large number of pods which in part will be harvested from the second decay of August and mid-September due to the consumption of the grain to waxy ripening to be shelled, while in autumn, when they are then dried in dry and ventilated rooms, then shelled by hand or with the aid of very simple and rudimentary materials and equipment typically found in the local agro-technique.
For all climbing ecotypes (S. Anterə, Panzarieddə, Risi, S.Pasquale, and Munacieddə) sowing can be done concurrently and in combination with maize whose rapier will act as support for plant development. The rows will be alternate maize / maisfagiolo / maize / corn-bean etc., the distance between the bean seeds 10-15 cm.
Today Casalbuono beans are protected by a collective brand and by a Slow Food Presidium with regard to the S. Anter P, Panzarieddə varieties. They are also included in the P.A.T. of the Campania Region.