The peas of Labico, also called Roncolette Labicane due to their particular curved shape (a billhook), are an ancient and traditional production. Since ancient times, the pea required strenuous cultivation: it was sown in small gardens by supporting the plant with the technique of infrascatura, or by using wooden supports, contributing to strongly characterise the Labico landscape with small vegetable gardens. The production of the Roncoletta acquired great notoriety at the beginning of the twentieth century, so much so that in the ‘30s, under the Fascist regime, this area was subjected to experiments aimed at increasing its productivity. In those years, the traditional Pea Festival was also established: in June a parade of decorated floats was held for the occasion and it involved the entire population of the town. Later, with the progressive urbanisation of the rural population, even the tiring cultivation of the Roncoletta has slowly disappeared. Today, a recovery process is underway and the seeds of the Labico pea have resumed being cultivated in the gardens of Labico.
Sowing takes place on soils of volcanic origin between November and February, placing seeds belonging to local dwarf pea ecotypes of the Verdone, Scarafone and Ortolano varieties in the furrows and covering them with a thin layer of soil. The infrascatura technique is still used today, allowing these legumes, whose branches climb onto wooden supports, to reach a height of about 50 centimetres. The “staggered” harvest is carried out in June, cutting the pod from top to bottom and when the seed is ripe enough.
The Roncoletta Labicana, or Labico pea, has a colour that varies from beige to light green and it retains its form after cooking. It has a strong vegetable aroma. The taste is sweet and slightly salty. Good consistency and solubility.