Podere La Berta and the forgotten fruits

Memories of childhood, of rituals, of nature both within and outside time; spaces enlarged and familiar; unusual yet evocative flavours; names of berries and blossoms that become memory and allow us to touch the past—such are our forgotten fruits.

We at Podere La Berta want to contribute to recovering and promoting this regional patrimony, so emblematic of biodiversity, with an attentive gaze and wines whose dimensions match our people.

The Forgotten Fruits are ancient fruit trees that in the early 20th century were commonly cultivated near Romagna farmhouses or along the boundaries of the fields, and even utilised as supports for grapevines. Up until the aftermath of the Second World War, they furnished the farmers with valuable components of their meals, ranging from breakfast to wintertime holiday feasts. They also played a significant role in the Romagna popular culture, even making an appearance in traditional local fairy tales and proverbs, not to mention their active role as powerful medicinal compounds.

At one time, in fact, one found, on every farm in this area, a huge number of species, divided into various cultivars, of fruit trees and bushes, that, in the words of Romagna poet and scriptwriter Tonino Guerra, ‘were growing up against the farmhouses and have now disappeared’. He was so struck by them that he created his own paradise of forgotten fruit, the Orto dei Frutti Dimenticati, which one can still visit, in Pennabilli, his village in the upper Val Marecchia.

Pellegrino Artusi was well acquainted with them as well, and his famed culinary history of Italy contains numerous recipes based on them, all still enjoyed and prized today.

Arbutus, sorb apple, azerole, quince, apricot, pomegranate, cornel berry, and the cocomerina pear

Arbutus, sorb apple, azerole, quince, apricot, pomegranate, cornel berry, and the cocomerina pear are just some of these venerable foods, all traditional and growing in the wild, usually on hillsides. The economic boom led to their disappearance, displaced by mass-cultivation crops that spelled the doom of tiny lots and solitary trees struggling for survival, while the opening of vast supermarkets led to the closing of the modest artisanal shops.

Today, at last, these tastes and flavours are being re-discovered, and fascinating initiatives in various regions are putting them in the spotlight, such as the Festa dei Frutti Dimenticati in Casola Valsenio: every autumn, the winery guides visitors on a “sensory adventure,” just a few kilometres from the cellar.

Podere La Berta has become the ambassador of this work of recovery of a patrimony so intimately bound up with, and deep rooted in, our local area, of tastes and flavours, and of expertise, traditions, rituals, and practices connected to them, all contributing to the beauty and style of our lives. We are committed to providing access once more to that world, to communicating it, growing it, translating it, and promoting it in today’s world.