Pemento de Oímbra
Peppers covered by the IGP ‘Pemento de Oímbra’ 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 before the fruit is ripe. The characteristics of the product are as follows:
- shape: regular, elongated, with a single lobe and three or four ribs and without significant veins,
- weight: between 100 g and 200 g each
- fruit length: between 10 cm and 20 cm
- base width: between 6 cm and 8 cm
- transverse section with three or four lobes
- shape of apex: pointed or rounded
- skin: smooth and shiny, and light green in colour with almost yellow tints
- thickness of the wall or flesh: between 6 mm and 8 mm
- tasting: sweet, no bite owing to the absence of capsaicin and aroma of medium intensity.
The production area is the District of Verín in the Province of Ourense, consisting of the following municipalities: Oímbra, Verín, Castrelo do Val, Monterrei, Cualedro, Laza, Riós and Vilardevós. The area includes the Támega River Valley, whose climate and soil conditions are ideal for growing this product.
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 de Oímbra’. 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 above 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 at the beginning of March. The plants are transplanted to the cultivation plots from mid-May using a planting pattern of approximately 50 cm × 40 cm. Nursery plants come from approved producers entered in the relevant register.
- Production restrictions:
- 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, the treatment of seedbeds and reduced irrigation. 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 is done by hand when the fruit has partially ripened and at the point when, based on the experience of the farmer and the physical characteristics listed above, 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.
The peppers are marketed in net bags of 1 kg to 5 kg or in cardboard boxes of 5 kg to 10 kg. The materials used are authorised by food legislation. The contents of each package are of uniform quality, ripeness and colour. 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 15 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 not spread beyond that geographical area, which even today remains the only place where this pepper is grown. As a reflection of its fame and popularity, in 1998 the ‘Feira do Pemento’ (Pepper Fair) was launched, a festive occasion celebrating the gastronomic qualities of the ‘Pemento de Oímbra’, which takes place annually at the beginning of August; during this event not only is the product tasted and promoted but gastronomic competitions and technical seminars are organised for growers. As evidence of its reputation, it is worth noting the numerous restaurants in the District of Verín that include ‘Pemento de Oímbra’ on their menus, seeing its culinary properties and the many ways in which it can be prepared as an excellent means of attracting customers. Its reputation is the result of a combination of many factors, including the plant material, the soil and the microclimate of the producer valleys.
- 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.
- The characteristics of the soil make the area even more suited to growing peppers, with its light loamy and sandy-loamy soils rich in organic materials, with drainage that favours infiltration, 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.
- The climate of the defined area is particularly suited to growing the Oímbra ecotype and explains why the crop has been grown in the area for so long and the unique properties of the pepper. The ‘Pemento de Oímbra’, like most sweet peppers, is very demanding as regards light, and therefore benefits from the south-east exposure of the production area and its temperature, which in the defined area is ideal at each stage of development of the crop. Germination requires a minimum temperature of 13 °C, which occurs in the area from 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 in July and August. In most years, the night-time temperature in September (an average of 14,4 °C) is too low for growing quality sweet peppers in the open and so tunnels are widely used.
Peppers marketed under the IGP ‘Pemento de Oímbra’ must bear a commercial label bearing the brand name of each producer/packer and a secondary label bearing a sequential alphanumeric code, authorised by the inspection body, with the Protected Geographical Indication logo. The words ‘Indicación Geográfica Protegida “Pemento de Oímbra” ’ must appear on both the commercial label and the secondary label.
Reference: The European Commission