In the western area of Calabria, where the Pollino National Park is located, a completely white ecotype of bean, called Poverello Bianco, in the local dialect “Fasulu povireddru iangu” has been cultivated for millennia. It is produced precisely in the mountain and irrigated area of the municipalities of Mormanno, Laino Borgo, Laino Castello and Aieta, all belonging to the province of Cosenza.
It is a local ecotype of Phaseolus vulgaris L. which is characterized by the oval-shaped seed, devoid of streaks and low percentage of integument.
It has a high protein content on average of about 26% and high values of sulfur proteins. The cultivation of this bean, like all legumes, also has great environmental value due to the type of tap root which, penetrating deeply, maintains a good structure of the soil, also preserving it from erosion. The roots also develop tubercles as a consequence of the symbiotic relationship with the bacteria of the genus Rhizobium, which are able to fix the atmospheric nitrogen gas transforming it into nitric and ammonia forms easily assimilated by plants and providing a good supply of nitrogen in the ground. The White Poor Bean is sown during the thirteenth of Sant’Antonio, a suitable period as, according to some farmers, it avoids the development of weevils. According to popular belief, sowing takes place in this period as an act of devotion to the saint, planting 5 to 9 seeds for place in the ditch.
The preparation of the soil takes place through plowing, crushing and subsequent deposition of the seed in square dimples arranged in twin rows. At the birth of the seedlings, chestnut stakes are arranged. Irrigation is carried out with the traditional sliding technique or using drip irrigation.
The grain, after being selected, is packaged in vacuum-packed glass jars. With the poor white bean you can make different dishes, such as tasty purees and soups. Furthermore, it can be combined with pasta and used in salads.
This legume takes on a particularly sublime taste especially if cooked on the hearth in the clay pot, just like the peasants used to do. The main characteristics of this legume are the particularly delicate flavor and the ease of cooking.