The dates will be Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October Cresto: “Our goal is to hold firm to the characteristic of a regional fair event”
IVREA BANQUETS. After two years of interruption, the expectation is growing for the return of the Banchette red corn festival, a trade fair event, held on the last Sunday of October to promote an ancient variety of corn: the pignoletto. This year the dates will be Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October. The Pignoletto Rosso association that organizes the event, with the collaboration of the Municipality and the support of Confagricoltura, is currently defining the program, while the corn harvest has just been completed. The script returns to being that of two years ago, but with one less evening: two days of events that culminate on Sunday with the market of typical products of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, able to attract 150 producers, farmers , artisans, traders, and antique dealers, along the axis of via Roma and via Circonvallazione. In the village, gastronomic points are then set up for the tasting of dishes based on red corn: and then polenta with various combinations. Various collateral events are held around the festival, ranging from the demonstration of ancient peasant crafts, to photographic and modeling exhibitions. «Our goal – anticipates Giampiero Cresto, president of the association – is to maintain firmly the characteristic of a regional fair event, showcase of the Banchette product of excellence, which we have achieved with so much commitment over the years. Upstream there is in fact the work of rediscovery and enhancement of the red Pignoletto, an ancient variety of corn recovered by a group of farmers, who had bought the land in the park area of the Roggia Rossa, and then had formed the agricultural company Biocultures for production and marketing ». The drought of last summer also influenced the cultivation of pignoletto: this year’s production is of good quality, but lower than that of past years: it is around 150 quintals cultivated in about ten hectares. «The corn harvest is over – adds Cresto – and now we are in the drying phase. The entire production process takes place on the farm: the corn is ground according to the ancient tradition, to obtain an organic flour with a characteristic golden yellow color with reddish veins and an unmistakable taste. In fact, the whole process is entirely carried out with certified organic method and the stone grinding makes the flour a niche product of the highest quality. Even the harvest takes place as in the past, that is to say in cobs, which are selected. Only the best ones go to ginning. We will be forced to adjust the retail price by about 30 cents per kilo ».
The work of rediscovering red corn had begun at the turn of the seventies and the early eighties, with a search for the last farmers who were still sowing local varieties of corn for polenta. Ottofile, Ostenga and Pignoletto, who were truly on the verge of extinction, had been saved. Given the project, the Municipality of Banchette had made an agricultural fund of about 4 hectares available to the cereal growers, the then Province of Turin had made available the means for land reclamation and technical scientific advice, Confagricoltura had sent the its technicians. In the spring of 2005 the project started, which then expanded into an experimentation laboratory, not only for Pignoletto Rosso maize, but also for cabbage and green manure. This product is now part of the ancient Piedmontese corn and the basket of typical products of the province of Turin. –