U.S. durum producers appreciate World Pasta Day – widely celebrated each Oct. 25 – because it pays tribute to a product made from the wheat they grow.
But many of them agree with Erica Olson, who believes “every day is Pasta Day” for at least one segment of the wheat industry.
That will be especially true next month when Olson, market development and research manager for the North Dakota Wheat Commission, travels to Europe to participate in a U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Crop Quality Seminar. Over the course of a week, Olson and USW Vice President of Programs Erica Oakley will present on the 2022 U.S. wheat crop – including durum, the primary wheat class used for making pasta – to wheat buyers in Italy and the United Kingdom. Other USW staff will host similar sessions for buyers in Spain and Portugal.
“Buyers from Italy are especially curious each year to hear about the U.S. durum crop and there are always a lot of questions,” explained Olson. “They are very quality-conscious, and pasta makers in Italy have a strong focus on the quality of the wheat they purchase. This year we will be able to share that the U.S. durum supply has rebounded, and the overall crop is exceptionally good.”
Among the things Olson and Oakley will share with European buyers about the 2022 U.S. durum crop is that semolina color values are very high, which is an important quality for pasta makers who annually seek two things in the wheat they purchase: color and hardness.
Celebrating Pasta on a Global Scale
World Pasta Day was the result of 40 pasta makers from around the world gathering in Rome, Italy in 1995 for the inaugural World Pasta Congress. The goal of the special day is to promote pasta consumption, as well celebrating its culinary and cultural importance.
The International Pasta Organization (IPO) was formed on Oct. 25, 2005, and was formally constituted in Italy a year later. IPO coordinates international communications aimed at safeguarding the product, develops common strategies to promote the worldwide consumption of pasta, and creates and manages information and food education.
While celebrations vary in each country, World Pasta Day focuses on consumers – the people around the world who enjoy eating some of the 600 or so shapes and sizes of pasta.
For U.S. durum producers, World Pasta Day is an opportunity to take pride in the role they play in putting high quality pasta on the plates of consumers around the world.