There are Sicilian companies that have chosen a different model of producing and selling. Their underlying idea is to recover the ‘human’ contact with the product and with the consumer.
There is a form of agriculture that wants to be close to its clients, their well-being, even from thousands of kilometres away. Theirs is a short supply chain model where the product –even if travelling over long distances– is not depersonalised by thousands of intermediates.
This what several Sicilian companies, including two that export all over Europe and in particular to Brussels, are striving for. They are Valdibella and Paterna Bio. The former has its core business in wine production but also produces oil, almonds and pasta, all strictly organic. The latter, which also fully converted to biological production a few years ago, cultivates lemons, one of the symbols of Sicily.
Valdibella was established in 1998 when some farmers in Camporeale, near Palermo, founded a cooperative: a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of goodwill but above all a common vision. It promotes a wonderful country, suited to agriculture and, in particular, to viticulture, and creates a sense of purpose for the many young people who would have otherwise been forced to leave Sicily in search of fortune elsewhere.
At the same time, the company chose to take the organic path, not just because of the nostalgia of the past but to innovate and give consumers the opportunity to taste good products that are respectful of nature and man.
The lemon as a symbol
Euractiv.com reports how cooperative Paterna Bio has chosen a path that is similar in many respects, with some differences, also oriented towards the recovery of humanity in agriculture. The company produces fruit and vegetables and, in particular, lemons that are exported all over Europe. The freshness of the various types of Sicilian lemons, their unmistakable smell and taste have conquered the European markets thanks to the added value given by “organic” cultivation.
The cooperative’s headquarters is in Terrasini, near Palermo, but the lemon plantations are scattered in various areas around the village. Lemons, like other products, are grown in this area of western Sicily and collected in the plant, where they are packaged and then shipped.
Here, the lemon is not just a fruit, it is a symbol of many things: history, organoleptic characteristics, varieties and types.