The current situation
Corn cultivation, production and sales of Farina bóna
Corn “Ticino” is currently used to prepare the Farina bóna. It is a corn selected and cultivated by the Engineer Paolo Bassetti on the Magadino plain. Since June 2009 the first Farina bóna produced with corn from Mergoscia is on sale. It is a corn which is not hybrid, but traditional and recuperated thanks also to the engagement and work of the association for species protection of “Pro Specie Rara” (For Rare Species), whose logo appears on the label of the product. For this event a promotional launch in the entire Switzerland in foreseen. The future goal is to intensify the production of Farina bóna derived from this kind of corn and other kinds more similar to the traditional ones. At present, the only producers of Farina bóna are Mr. Ilario Garbani Marcantini (about 2’000 kg yearly) and the Onsernone Museum, the owner of Loco’s mill (about 200 kg yearly). Currently, because of the lack of adequate infrastructures, both have to produce Farina bóna under conditions that are not entirely satisfactory as for the historical faithfulness: Ilario Garbani Marcantini toasts “Ticino” corn in Vergeletto, using a toasting machine, but has then to mill it industrially. The miller of Loco (Marco Morgantini) toasts the grains in a modern warm air oven and then mills them with a small electric stone mill.
The improvement of the production conditions is one of the main goals of the current project: the toasting machine can be used also in the future, as it complies with tradition (it is actually a large revolving pan), the milling has to be made both in Vergeletto and Loco with traditional millstones activated by the mill. The sale of Farina bóna is currently made through different distribution channels. The Onsernone Museum sells its production directly at the mill (open three days a week, and visited by about 500 people a year) and in the museum itself. Ilario Garbani Marcantini directly distributes his product to individuals, restaurants, bakers, ice-cream makers, shops all over Switzerland. For the southern part of Ticino (Sottoceneri) he collaborates with a local distributor. The Loco miller and Ilario Garbani Marcantini take also regularly part to markets and exhibitions that offer the chance to promote Farina bóna also beyond the borders of Onsernone Valley and Ticino. Some new and interesting possibilities opened up recently thanks to the support of Slow Food and Coop Switzerland. Other possible distribution channels are being defined in other European countries.