Mais Spinato di Gandino (Gandino Spinato corn) is a local variety from the province of Bergamo (Italy) that is characterised by the pointed shape of the kernel. Gandino was in 1600 the first place in Lombardy where corn was cultivated. The corn, unlike potatoes, quickly gained favour with farmers so much so that the crop spread to the mountains where the cold climate pushed planting times back so late that there risked there not being enough time for the plants to reach maturity. The time from planting to harvest is about 120-130 days, and the plant grows 2 m tall. The seeds are planted in April and May, and harvested in September and October. The ear (or commonly, ‘cob’) has a length of 20-25 cm and is reddish in color and cylindrical with kernels distributed on 14-16 rows. The kernels themselves are glassy, yellow-orange and pointed, with a conical barb or beak facing outwards from the ear, giving this variety it’s name. Unlike hybrid varieties, this corn’s kernels can be used as planting seeds. The average production is 3500-4000 kg per hectare, but can reach up to 5000 kg per hectare in fertile and irrigated land. In the past few years, Comunità del Mais Spinato di Gandino has placed a great emphasis on the promotion of products related to the rich and long history of local products.
Role within INCREASE
Mais Spinato di Gandino is working on the project of "Clüsven Bean", a legume of the Phaseolus coccineus family that has been cultivated for over a century in Gandino (Bergamo - Italy), in the same area where the Gandino Spinato Corn variety was cultivated since 1632. The Bonazzi family (Congenta), who moved from Cazzano S.Andrea to Clüsven since the first half of the nineteenth century, has grown corn and beans in that area. Roberto Colombi in the early 1960s, marrying one of the Bonazzi daughters, has always grown the seeds received from the Bonazzi in Gandino, loc."Rastei". Coinciding with Expo 2015, the L. Rota Botanical Garden of Bergamo showed the Clüsven beans in the Biodiversity Valley in Astino Bergamo. In 2016, they successfully implemented the first trial in the garden of the cultivation of the Gandino Spinato Corn and the Clüsven bean. This legume has been included in the Slow Food "Ark of Taste" since 2016 and is used in vegetable soups, with pasta and beans and stewed with tomatoes and spices. It recalls the importance of crop association and rotation and complementarity, the strength of an intact tradition that becomes topical excellence.