Central Italy has been rocked by recent earthquakes. Following the devastating earthquake on 24 August where hundreds lost their lives, central Italy was hit by subsequent new quakes on Wednesday 26 and Sunday 30 October.
Fortunately there were no fatalities reported from the last two quakes, however private homes, artistic heritage and gastronomy were devastated in the affected area – mainly provinces in the three regions of Lazio, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo -where the impact will be felt long after, particularly to the local food industry which is a fundamental part of the local economy.
According to Coldiretti, the Italian Association of small producers and farmers, the earthquake hit 3000 food companies and as a result their production is now at risk.
We take the opportunity to highlight just how many products and local producers whose work has been damaged by the earthquake, their recovery in the coming months, and how we can help.
If you know of any others please let us know on our Facebook page.
Typical Products and Producers Affected by the Earthquake in Central Italy
We start in the region of Lazio with Claudio Lorenzini, director of brewery Alta Quota di Cittareale, which has not been damaged, but he reports some manufacturers, both friends and colleagues, who were not so lucky including: dairys Caseificio Casale Nibbi and Caseificio Petrucci, both in Amatrice, and Sant'Andrea Casesficio in Leonessa (+39 0746938185) as well as Salumificio Sano in Amatrice.
Two breweries at risk are birrifico MC-77 in Caccamo (MC), which will move production machinery to another location, and Birra Norcia, whose fate is unfortunately linked to that of the Umbrian village that suffered some of the most extensive damage – and that of the Benedictine community that has lost its historical landmarks.
The village of Castelluccio di Norcia, famous throughout the world for its IGP Castelluccio lentils, was virtually destroyed by the earthquakes.
Fortunately, the crop of pulses had already been harvested earlier in August and stored in warehouses. Despite some physical damage to some buildings the real problems affecting the livlihood of local producers are the lack of services like roads, energy and facilities for both farmers and workers.
As recounted to Saperefood Nello Pera by the President of the Cooperative of the Lentil of Castelluccio PGI: "We can not even go back to the village, because there is no electricity and the roads are closed. The production is stopped, and all the earlier lentil harvest is going to waste because I have no way to market it right now. I could count damages of 1 million Euros to the supply chain."
Norcia is so famous for its centuries-old art of making 'prosciutto' or cured ham that the name is inherent in the artisanal process – "Norcina." Some producers have already joined together to create a consortium with a brand to publicise products from the region – "I love Norcia" while The Guardian newspaper reports on an appeal by Valentina Fausti, whose cured ham legs are famous around the world: as they try to sell 200 hams as quickly as possible in order to cope with about two million euros worth of damages.
In the meantime here is a list of traditional products of the province of Norcia and instructions on how to buy them.
Photo: Caseificio Sabelli
Other agricultural food production in central Italy, like that of the red potato from Colfiorito, the White Bullock IGP or pecorino from Sibillini, are also all going through a difficult time.
While Coldiretti are calling for caravans and campers for use by producers to stay close to their pastures and their fields, we point out other companies that we know that have experienced damage: the Caseficio Sabelli in Ascoli Piceno, the saffron from the young company Bosco Torto and that of 'Azienda Agricola Angeli, Giorgio Calabro. Unfortunately, the list goes on.
After the 2012 earthquake in Emilia, Italy it was the solidarity shown by both chefs and restaurateurs around the world following an appeal by chef Massimo Bottura that helped negate the estimated 300 million euros losses when a colossal 300,000 wheels of cheese were damaged. And it's exactly this type of engagement that the small producers and farmers will need to help them recover this natural disaster.
It's time to give those great Italian producers in the centre of Italy our help.