Solina is a wheat variety that has been cultivated for centuries on the Apennines of Abruzzo, where it is known as "the mother of all wheat". This is how oral tradition remembers and introduces Solina; as the first wheat variety in living memory, the only one retained in use by the high altitude population of Abruzzo's mountains. We find the deep roots of Solina precisely in "Europe's green region": clearly evident traces of its history can be found in notarial deeds of sale concluded at the Lanciano Fair dating as far back as the sixteenth century. Michele Torcia writes in his book "Pel paese de Peligni” of 1793, how "the bread in Popoli is derived from solino wheat" describing it as one of the best in the Kingdom of Naples. Over time, the harsh climate and the weak mountain soil, together with the patient and stubborn action of the farmers, has shaped the genes of this soft wheat variety with extraordinary organoleptic and nutritional properties. Solina is only able to express and preserve all of its potential where the historical tradition of high-altitude cultivation has been maintained. Solina wheat from the Apennines of Abruzzo has been recognised as a Slow Food Presidium, as well as being included among the ten most rare and precious mountain food products in the world by the UN on the occasion of the International Mountain Day. The Consortium's Production Regulations define the current cultivation area to include all of the municipalities of the province of L'Aquila, with the exception of the area contained within the Fucino plain, as well as the mountain municipalities of the other three provinces of Abruzzo exclusively in areas that are 750 meters above sea level. Among the few varieties of cereals registered in the Italian National Register of Conservation Varieties, Solina is at the centre of the European Commission's fundamental project entitled "Preparatory action on EU plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture," which recognises the value and dedicates resources to the recovery, protection and enhancement of a variety which is considered a founding element of Europe's agricultural biodiversity heritage.
The Consorzio Produttori Solina d'Abruzzo, based in Sulmona, brings together farmers from the entire province of L'Aquila and part of the provinces of Chieti, Pescara and Teramo, who are committed to farming Solina wheat together with other varieties of cereals typical of Abruzzo's agricultural tradition, according to the methods and rules of organic farming. A variety of actions and objectives animate the life of the Consortium, ranging from study and scientific research to activities in the information, communication and educational sphere of the agro-food sector; from the custody of the Solina variety as a genetic resource with unique characteristics to its protection, manifested in terms of care and supervision of the seed cultivation, reproduction and conservation conditions; from the promotion of Solina in various regional, national and international contexts to the establishment of collaborations and networks with other actors and ambassadors of rural seeds; from the creation of production chains based on Solina wheat to the marketing of the organic foods derived from it. Over the years, the Consortium has developed a variety of products, such as flours milled in conjunction with Abruzzo's most attentive and perceptive millers and the renowned and esteemed fragrant Solina bread, with its unique mountain aromas, as well as traditional and gourmet pasta and mini pasta shapes, breadsticks, rusks, confectionery preparations, puffed grain snacks and beer.
Solina reflects the identity of the mountain of Abruzzo in the most authentic way, and its value, expressed through its centuries-old history and unique genetic and organoleptic characteristics, has been acknowledged and extraordinarily exalted by the European Commission (Directorate- General for Agriculture and Rural Development). The project dedicated to the recovery, protection and enhancement of the European heritage of genetic resources in agriculture is entitled "Preparatory action on EU plant and animal genetic resources in agriculture," which, since 2016, has been focused precisely on Solina and three other European agricultural biodiversity case studies. This European based action aims to discover ways to achieve sustainable environmental and economic use of these resources, still perceived as marginal yet with great potential, and moving towards the construction of production chains that are capable of inspiring and encouraging both farmers and any other representatives from the same supply chains, across the continent. In this new, truly unique and greatly important scenario, the Consorzio Produttori Solina d'Abruzzo, in collaboration with the Rete Semi Rurali (Italian Rural Seeds Network) of which it is a member, has undertaken a variety of interconnected activities focused on the objectives of research, protection and the valorisation of the variety. This task is shaped through the creation of a system of supply chains that engages farms, storage units, processors, research institutes, subjects dedicated to communication and education in the agri-food sector, institutions, collaborative networks and the community of users as a whole, in a virtuous coordination, focused on the principles of participatory conservation and environmental and economic sustainability.
Solina Wheat from the Apennines of Abruzzo is a Slow Food Presidium, thus forming an integral part of the large network that protects food biodiversity, coordinated and promoted by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The values embodied by the Presidium are expressed through the Consortium's constant commitment in pursuit of the ideal environmental and social sustainability conditions with regard to the cultivation of Solina and its local territory. When describing Solina, the Slow Food Foundation emphasises the cardinal importance that this wheat has had and still has for the community of Abruzzo. "Throughout the inland of Abruzzo, the Solina variety is used as a reference point when talking about wheat. There are popular sayings that testify the close connection between this wheat variety and the lives of the people from Abruzzo. It is said that "Solina fixes all the flours," or "if a farmer wants to go to the mill, he must sow Solina"; to then call to mind the main growing requirements: "It is a type of wheat that is characteristic of the mountainous and marginal areas of the Gran Sasso, especially the inner part of the massif on the L'Aquila side, where the cold and high altitudes make it possible to obtain excellent quality results. The wheat is exclusively sown in autumn, from mid to late September at higher altitudes and in the last twenty days of October in the lower-lying inland valleys. The very rustic Solina adapts well to weak and rocky soils, typical of the highest areas."
A "HOME" FOR ABRUZZO'S AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY AND ITS WORK IN PROGRESS C.A.S.A. - Custodi Antichi Semi d'Abruzzo (Abruzzo’s Historical Seeds Custodians) is first and foremost a cultural and cultivation movement that operates in parallel with the Consorzio Produttori Solina d'Abruzzo. C.A.S.A. seeks to integrate with the latter in the objectives, increasingly felt as priorities, of the protection, care of production regulations, and information and educational dissemination. Custodi Antichi Semi d’Abruzzo (C.A.S.A.) concentrates on one of the essential challenges promoted by the Consortium: extending the custody and revaluation actions to the entire agricultural genetic heritage of Abruzzo's tradition, in its complexity, focusing its attention on the seeds that have entered into a synergistic relationship with the people and the land of Abruzzo since days of old, just like Solina. C.A.S.A. aims to formulate and circulate lines of certified organic farming products focused around these seeds and created with the idea of integrating the farmers' knowledge and experience with the passion and virtues of the other subjects involved in the production processes. The Solina Bread from the Apennines of Abruzzo project was created with this spirit, whereby active bakers participate both in Abruzzo and outside the region through the adherence to a Production Regulation, undergoing continuous development, able to reflect the knowledge of each to give rise to a core product with a strong symbolic connotation, a clear point of reference for anyone who wants to approach the world of Solina: bread. C.A.S.A. proceeds on its research path, bringing with it the experience of Solina, to embrace the vast horizon of the ancient seeds of Abruzzo.
Consorzio Produttori Solina d’Abruzzo Soc. Coop. Agr. a r.l.
Via Morrone, 1 - 67039 Sulmona (AQ), Abruzzo, Italia
T +39 349 4003131
P. IVA 01931960668
Gaetano Carboni, President
Fabrizio Valente, Vice President
Ettore Raschiatore, Councilor
Donato Domenico Silveri, Research and Scientific Coordination
Giorgio D’Orazio Vinditti, Communication
H7|25 marketing partners | Stefano Calanca, Design e Web
Giorgio Liddo, Fotografia