Agriculture in tuscia
The area of TUSCIA is in Central Italy, at the confluence of the three provinces of Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany. The apex is Bolsena Lake, the largest volcanic crater lake in Europe. Volcanic activity here only ceased in 104 BC but the legacy is a wonderful fertile volcanic soil which extends up to 30 km in all directions. This has enabled farmers to produce a huge variety of crops within this Mediterranean climate. The area particularly around Bolsena was traditionally famous for its wide variety of vegetables and fruit. Over the years though so called 'advances' in agriculture using chemical treatments have been used consistently by local farmers. Large plantations of hazelnuts trees are now being grown near the shores, these require large amounts of pesticides and herbicides for protection because monoculture leaves any plant unable to fend for itself. All these chemical are filtering into the lake The result is now that the lake, an area of water over 100 sq km and 400 metres deep in parts, has become heavily polluted. Phosphorus is the main cause, the quantity measured has doubled in the last 12 years, increasing the phytoplankton biomass which suffocates the water from sufficient oxygen meaning thateventually no life will be able to exist within the lake. Just 50 years ago Bolsena was known for having some of the largest and most prolific numbers of fresh water fish in Italy, radical changes will have to be put in place for those days to return.
Alot of the the local farmers are using traditional methods to produce sustainable crops, respecting the seasons and avoiding agrichemical and industrial methods. The quality of the local produce is deliciously nutritious and affordable, enabling these farmers to reward and support themselves for their hard work. Because of the Mediterranean climate, the produce is wide ranging from vegetables such as courgette, tomato, potato, salad, carrots, beetroot, cabbage, rocket and hemp. There is also biodynamic wine, organic olive oil, honey, sheep’s and goat’s cheese, yogurt, different breads andorganic flour, pulses such as lentils and kidney beans, preserves like sundried tomatoes, jams, chutneys, dried fruits and home made hazelnut spread from wild hazelnut trees. There are herbs and spices likechilli, coriander, saffron, basil, thyme, canapa, as well as unusual alcoholic beverages made from cherry, fennel and juniper.