A friend of mine has been reading up about a durum wheat variety called "tumminia". He wrote about it here.
Does tumminia have any meaning that might help us to understand the background of this wheat variety?
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I am not aware, nor are the dictionaries I have checked, of such a word in Italian; it seems to be a proper name. Italian Wikipedia, which has always to be taken with a pinch of salt, says «Tumminìa - cultivar di grano siciliano a maturazione trimestrale (dal greco τρεσ μηναιός), con il quale si prepara il pane nero di Castelvetrano». The Greek words given are similar to, but not correctly so, Ancient Greek; so they are either misspelt or Modern Greek. In any case, they should mean something like “trimestral”.
In Palermo my parents-in-law often buy pane di tumminìa (tumminia bread), which they also call pane di farina di tumminìa (tumminia wheat bread).
Wikipedia says (in the disambiguation page):
Tumminìa - cultivar di grano siciliano a maturazione trimestrale (dal greco τρεσ μηναιός), con il quale si prepara il pane nero di Castelvetrano.
Tumminia - a cultivar of Sicilian wheat that ripens in three months (from Greek τρεσ μηναιός), used in the preparation of the black bread of Castelvetrano
It's rather common for words which are peculiar to the Sicilian dialect(s) to derive from Greek. I'm not able to check the Greek above, and I could not find a reliable confirmation of this etymology, but from what I can tell the phonological distance from Latin ("tres menses") would only be slightly greater. Apparently, alternative spellings are timminia and trimminia.
The family name Tumminia occurs mainly in Palermo and in the surroundings of Castelvetrano, as you can see here. Sicilian family names are often locality names (and do not denote Jewish origin as in most of Italy), but this is not the case here, since there is no locality by this name. I presume it to be an occupational surname.
I got the following information from my father-in-law:
Tùmmino or tùmminu (I'm always adding accents for clarity - they are not wrong but usually not written) means two things in Sicilian:
When I observed that the alternative name timilìa appears to confirm the possible derivation from the pair tumminu and tomolo (or tumulo), he was skeptical, but to me his skepticism is a further confirmation that there is no artificial derivation going on here. I think that the derivation from Greek may well have been made up recently.
He explained to me that tumminia wheat used to be grown when it was clear that a crop of regular wheat was lost for some reason, because it would still be harvested in time (because of its fast ripening). The downside is its low production, but it has upsides too, like, when turned into tumminia bread, also called Castelvetrano bread in Palermo, its peculiar taste and its preservability.
In my opinion, furmentu di tumminìa could mean something like "wheat of fielding" (I'm inventing fielding here, in the sense of "using the field in another way, instead of wasting it because of a crop failure").