The Consortium for the Protection of the Marron of San Zeno P.D.O. was established through the initiative of a group of marron producers of the Monte Baldo Veronese area who, in 1997, founded the Associazione del Marrone di San Zeno (Association of the Marron of San Zeno). The main objective of the Association was to revive chestnut growing in the Baldo and safeguard the local environment, traditions and customs. But the only way to obtain this was to allow producers to get a better price for their products and generate an income from chestnut growing.
This led to the need to establish the Protected Designation of Origin, P.D.O. which:
• safeguards the one and only "Marron of San Zeno" from imitations and unfair competition;
• enables the enhancement of the quality thanks to the prestige and guarantee certified
by the European seal;
• signifies production quality standards in conformity with the production rules and
• increments the product's visibility through the notoriety of the European seal within
the general public.
The much coveted European endorsement was obtained in 2003 and in the same year the Consortium for the Protection of the Marron of San Zeno P.D.O. was founded. Today the consortium has 45 members.
The activities of the Consortium are many: they focus principally on promoting and protecting the Marron of San Zeno P.D.O. by organizing, in association with the municipality, the festival of the Marron in San Zeno di Montagna and facilitating the producers' participation in all the initiatives in which the product may be promoted.
Another priority is the safeguard of the traditional and local processing techniques such as manual grading and curing techniques (the "novena" and the "rissara"), but also the rigorous application of integrated biological control systems in tackling eventual diseases, the pruning and the strict observance of the harvest periods that allow the Marron of San Zeno P.D.O. to distinguish itself from similar products.
Every year, the Consortium devotes its efforts to improving the chestnut cultivations by sourcing funds for extraordinary pruning and organizing refresher courses on pruning techniques and on disease prevention. Another initiative of the Consortium is to promote the products deriving from the Marron of San Zeno P.D.O. such as the "Marronata", the "Candied marrons" and the "Birra Castanea" chestnut beer.