Intense fragrance, golden-yellow colour and sweet and natural pulp: This is the late harvest peach from Leonforte. It’s an authentic jewel of Italian agriculture and a niche Sicilian product with special organoleptic properties and an unmistakable flavour and colour.
What makes the peach from Leonforte stand out from the competition is its ripening period, which starts in September and continues through October. Bare plants are pruned at the same time as new growth, sometime around March. Then floral buds begin forming, giving rise to beautiful pink flowers. The plants are taken care of throughout the year: Branches are trimmed, the trees are given copper and they are fertilized. Trickle irrigation is used once a week.
The fruit is thinned out in May (scuzzulari) to allow the remaining fruit to weigh more. In fact only 2-3 peaches are left on each branch. Naturally, this procedure is performed by hand.
The main peculiarity of the September peach from Leonforte is its packaging technique. Each individual peach is packaged in a semi-transparent parchment-paper bag that allows light to filter in but at the same time protects the fruit against external agents (various parasites, animals such as the fruit fly, etc.).
This prevents having to use anti-parasite treatments for at least 3-4 months before the fruit is harvested. Packaging takes place some time in June. Pernickety care is used to place the fruit in the bag, which is closed with a wire. It’s very important to pay extreme attention and not to damage the small fruit.
Once in the bag, the fruit ripens better and keeps its aroma and unique fragrance, for which this marvel of nature stands out. After bagging, the peaches are left to ripen for the entire summer and are only harvested at the end of September.
A slight rotation of each stalk detaches the fruit one at a time. Then the bags are removed. Each peach is carefully inspected and then put on the market to be sold.