The information available about ‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’ were reported by the only family that has been conserving the landrace until now. The farmers reported that the landrace has been cultivated by his family for generations. The landrace is also called ‘Pomodoro del Vaticano’, literally the ‘Vatican tomato’. The farmer reported that many years ago, due to an unsuccessful growing season, his family was not able to reproduce seeds for the following year. In order to rescue some seeds, the family contacted a person that, prior to the event, used to cultivate the same landrace in the area; at that time this person had moved to Rome already, living in the Vatican State. He delivered some seeds to the family that was able to continue cultivating the landrace; For this reason, it is also called the ‘Vatican tomato’.
‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’ is characterised by indeterminate growth habit; leaves are light green and the inflorescence is generally multiparous. The fruit set is low and the bottom part of the plant tend to be more productive. The fruit is relatively big, characterised by an average weight equal to 450 g; fruits can easily reach a weight of 800-900 g with a maximum weight of 1400 g. The fruit is flattened, characterised by the presence of a high number of locules each containing few seeds. The mature tomato is red and is generally used for fresh consumption.
Cultivation System: low-input conditions.
‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’ is cultivated in the area of Mercatello, under the municipality of Marsciano (Perugia, Italy). The area (on average 210 m a.sl.) is located nearby the river Nestore.
Within the cultivation area, just a single farmer is still cultivating the variety. The farmer also produces other tomato varieties that sells to local distributors and markets. Anyhow, the cultivation of the landrace within the farm is limited to and due to high perishability of its fruits the farmer does not sell it on the market.
Propagation system: Seed, self-pollinationMultiplication procedures and consequences on landrace diversity:
The landrace is cultivated together with other tomato varieties on the same field. The cultivation is carried out outdoor or in greenhouses. The farmer does not apply isolation and selects the fruits that are closer to the ideotype in order to collect seeds for the following year.
Due to the relative low number of plants multiplicated each season, the within-population diversity of this landrace could be rather low.Management plan existence:
The landrace management relies completely on farming activities in the area. Currently, no technical or scientific support is given.
Currently, the landrace has no local market as the farmer only cultivate it according to his domestic needs.Others (e.g. commercial/geographical brands or special traits):
In 2015 ‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’ was included into the Regional Register of Landraces (Umbria Region, Italy), implementing the Umbria Region Law concerning the protection of local genetic resources (n. 25, 2001).
In 2003, ‘Parco Tecnologico Agroalimentare 3A’ carried out a specific project in order to rescue and valorise ‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’. The project was funded by the EU initiative named LEADER PLUS and sustained by the ‘Local Group of Action’ (GAL in its Italian acronym) of ‘Media Valle del Tevere’.
Accessions of ‘Pomodoro di Mercatello’ are kept, under long terms storage conditions in the germplasm bank of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science of The University of Perugia (FAO ITA-363).
Provisions set by the local organisations aimed at characterising and saving the landrace. However, at present, further activities are needed to enhance on-farm conservation and to increase the use of such resource. A proper management plan would ensure the maintenance of the existing within-population diversity.
Case study provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali (DSA3), Università degli Studi di Perugia (UNIPG), Italy.
Most of updates have been retrieved from 3A-PTA website (http://biodiversita.umbria.parco3a.org/schede/pomodoro-di-mercatello-di-marsciano).