It has still not reached record figures but, compared to last year, the chestnut harvest in the Tuscia area is very good. Last year, it was decimated by the drought and high temperatures of October 2019 as well as by fungal diseases.
"Luckily, this year we have not had to deal with brown rot. Gnomoniopsis castaneae is a fungus that attacks flower tissues and develops in the fruits. However it remains latent for a long period of time and manifests at the end of the vegetative season favored by high temperatures and humidity. The main damage is an alteration inside the chestnut, which becomes chalky and whitish first, then brown modifying texture and flavor," explains Roberto Monfeli (in the photo), owner of the family business.
Società Agricola Monfeli is an organic company located in Caprarola (VT) and specialized in the production of hazelnuts, chestnuts and blueberries. Harvesting in the 5 hectares of chestnuts groves started in early October. To maintain fruit quality high, the campaign ended a few days ago. The processed product range includes: chestnut spread, chestnut and chocolate spread, blueberry compote and blueberry juice.
Fruits and processed products supply fruit shops, ice cream parlors and pastry shops. The service includes home deliveries within a 20 km radius (less than 48h). Alternatively, processed products can be delivered via courier.
Blueberry juice and compotes and chestnut spreads are the flagship products. This year, the increase in chestnut production maintained prices stable at €2.50/kg on average. As for blueberries, production is satisfactory with extraordinary demand and prices for both the fresh and processed fruits. Over the years, the brand acquired a deep technical knowledge, which today enables it to offer a wide range of services that include international shipping and the setup of botanical and agricultural systems.
The leading products of the processed chestnut rage are obtained from the processing of small fruits and include chestnut spread, chestnut and dark chocolate spread and chestnut and rum spread. Thanks to the nearby innovative processing facility, the company can also process third-party produce. All processes comply with HACCP standards and respect the environment.
"The making of the chestnut spread starts with a careful selection of fruits, which are soaked in water first, then peeled. Chestnuts are then grinded with sugar so as to obtain a spread. We can also mix it with dark chocolate or rum. It only has three basic ingredients: chestnuts, sugar and natural vanilla extract."
The spread is available in 300 gram jars with no additives: only 100% natural ingredients, just like you would make at home. The products are popular all over Italy and abroad.
"What we do is increasingly complex and risky, because we need to adjust to the rhythm of nature, with years where production is completely ruined by climate change. Nonetheless, we are the start of a chain that is ethical and aware, meaning that we grow good healthy produce that is an expression of the territory and meets the needs of consumers that appreciate our vision."