Pemento da Arnoia
Peppers covered by the IGP ‘Pemento da Arnoia’ (aka Pimiento de Arnoia) are the fruit of the ecotype of the species Capsicum annum L traditionally grown in the production area, intended for human consumption and marketed fresh. The fruit is picked before it is ripe when its characteristics are as follows:
- shape: conical or bell-shaped, with three or four lobes and four ribs and a varying number of well-defined longitudinal septa
- apex: cleft or rounded
- base of stem: lobulated
- skin: smooth and shiny, and light green in colour
- approximate weight: between 50 g and 90 g each
- approximate length of fruit: between 7,5 cm and 11 cm
- approximate width of fruit: between 5 cm and 7 cm
- approximate thickness of the wall or flesh: between 2,6 cm and 7,7 mm
- longitudinal section: trapezoid
- tasting: intense aroma and sweet taste, with very little bite
The production area of the IGP ‘Pemento da Arnoia’ covers 23 km, made up of the Municipality of A Arnoia and the parish of Meréns in the Municipality of Cortegada. The whole area lies within the District of O Ribeiro in the west of the Province of Ourense in the south of the Autonomous Community of Galicia. The production area lies on the lower slopes of the final section of the River Arnoia Valley.
Proof of origin
The traceability of the product is ensured by its identification at each stage of production and marketing. In order to check that the requirements of the specification have been fulfilled, the inspection body maintains a constantly updated register of producers and plots. Only peppers grown in accordance with the conditions laid down in the specification and other additional rules, on plots and by producers entered in the register may be covered by the IGP ‘Pemento da Arnoia’.In addition, registered producers are required to declare the quantity of IGP peppers actually produced and marketed by means of entries in registers set up for the purpose. The inspection body checks that the quantities marketed by the packers correspond to the production of the farmers who supply them and that that production corresponds to the yield of the registered plots.
All legal and natural persons entered in the registers, plots, stores, processing undertakings and products are subject to inspections and checks carried out by the inspection body with a view to verifying that the protected products fulfil the requirements set out in the specification and additional rules. The checks involve an inspection of the plots, stores and processing undertakings, a review of the documentation and verification that the physical criteria described in point 4.2 are met, plus checks to ensure that the peppers picked are whole, healthy, clean, undamaged and unblemished. In addition, multi-residual analyses may be carried out to check that the values for pesticides are below the maximum residue limits (MRLs) set for the crop by current legislation.
Method of production
The plants and fruit to be used for obtaining seed for propagation are selected using traditional methods by the farmers themselves, who use their experience to select those with the best characteristics (size, shape and appearance) for growing top-quality peppers.
The cultivation procedure is described below:
- Propagation and planting out: The ripe fruit (red) is dried and the seed extracted. The seedbeds are prepared in January. A heated frame is made to promote germination, which is then covered with plastic laminate tunnels. The plants are transplanted to the cultivation plots from mid-March using a planting pattern of approximately 50 cm × 40 cm.
- Production restrictions: The maximum permitted yield is 40 000 kilograms per hectare.
- Growing practices: Irrigation is essential for the optimum development of this crop and must be carried out at the foot of the plant to avoid damaging the flower or the fruit. Organic fertiliser is applied once as a basal dressing (cow dung or poultry dung). Possible pests and diseases are controlled by methods such as the disinfection of seeds and the treatment of seedbeds. If plant-health products have to be employed, the active substances used are those that have less of an environmental impact, are more effective, less toxic, create fewer residue problems, have less of an effect on secondary fauna and less of a problem with resistance.
- Harvesting: Harvesting is by hand before the fruit has ripened and at the point when, based on the experience of the farmer and the physical characteristics listed in point 4.2, it is ready for marketing. As many runs are made as required, using the equipment (tools, boxes or containers and so on) and people necessary to prevent any deterioration of the product.
- Transport and storage: The peppers are transported in rigid containers to avoid crushing them. Unloading is carried out in such a way as to reduce the risk of the product falling. Storage areas must be correctly ventilated.
- Marketing: The peppers are marketed in nets of 500 g or 1 000 g of materials authorised by food legislation. Other forms of presentation may be introduced if it is shown that they do not adversely affect the quality of the product. The peppers are marketed between 1 June and 15 October, although that period may be modified when, owing to seasonal weather conditions, the characteristics of the product so require.
This pepper is a local ecotype that has been cultivated by farmers in the defined geographical area since ancient times. As a result of its limited production and distribution over the years, its cultivation has hardly spread beyond that geographical area. As a reflection of its fame and popularity, in 1980 the ‘Festa do Pemento’ (Pepper Festival) was launched, a festive occasion declared to be a tourist attraction, celebrating the gastronomic qualities of the ‘Pemento da Arnoia’, which takes place annually on the first weekend of August. Note should also be taken of the numerous references in gastronomic guides to the culinary properties and the ways in which ‘Pemento da Arnoia’ can be prepared. Its reputation is the result of a combination of many factors, including the plant material, the soil and the microclimate of the producer valleys.
- Plant material: The traditional practices of local farmers, maintaining and selecting the best plants while adapting production techniques to local conditions, have resulted in a product with an excellent reputation based on its specific characteristics and quality.
- Climate: The climate of this final section of the River Arnoia Valley is particularly suited to growing the Arnoia ecotype and explains why the crop has been grown in the area for so long and the unique properties of the pepper. The ‘Pemento da Arnoia’, like most sweet peppers, is very demanding as regards light, and therefore benefits from the south-west exposure of the production area and its temperature, which has a strong influence on certain characteristics of the product, such as its high fat content. Germination requires a minimum temperature of 13 °C, which occurs in the area from the third week of April, while the optimum temperature for development of the fruit is between 20 °C and 25 °C (during the day) and between 16 °C and 18 °C (at night), the usual temperatures in the area from July to September. In A Arnoia, the monthly average temperatures for those months vary between 20,5 °C and 23,1 °C during the day and between 16 °C and 17,9 °C at night.
- Soil: The characteristics of the soil make the area even more suited to growing peppers, with its sandy loamy soils rich in organic materials that favour drainage and aeration, allowing frequent irrigation — the plant is vulnerable to dehydration and the soil must therefore always be kept damp, but water logging must be avoided, as this can cause asphyxia and blossom-end rot of the fruit.
Peppers marketed under the IGP ‘Pemento da Arnoia’ must bear the commercial label of each producer/packer and a label bearing a sequential alphanumeric code, authorised by the inspection body, with the IGP logo. The words ‘Indicación Geográfica Protegida “Pemento da Arnoia” ’ must appear on both the commercial label and the actual IGP label.
Reference: The European Commission