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Agricola Fernandes - a long history of organic farming

The history of Azienda Agricola Ferrandes, located in the province of Latina, dates back to the 1980s with the cultivation of vineyards to produce table grapes and wine. 

Salvatore Ferrandes, owner of the company

In 1986-87, the entire area was converted to organic production. Nowadays, the company is starting to employ biodynamic cultivation techniques and shares "Terre di Ecor" values - a choice made to show love and respect for the land and a commitment to produce high-quality organic fruit and vegetables.

Salvatore Ferrandes has been employing organic cultivation techniques for over 20 years, as he believes it is the only approach that respects the environment. He chose this path as he was not satisfied with how things were going in the traditional agricultural world.

In addition to kiwis, watermelons and strawberries, the company also produces lettuce, purple aubergines, new potatoes and tomatoes.

"I love Sicily, it is the most beautiful region in the world. I was born in Pantelleria, but have been living in Latina ever since my father moved our family there in 1964. He started with a vineyard, which I have converted into fruit and vegetable crops."

The company covers 45 hectares in Agro Pontino, which is perfect for agriculture thanks to its fertile soil, ideal climate and proximity to the sea.

"Nonetheless, a lot of hard work is needed, especially for organic crops. To grow organic carrots you need to truly fight and yields are not the same as those obtained with integrated production techniques. Plants need more time to grow, but the flavour is different and the produce is healthier."

"The whole world should focus on organic agriculture, as it is the only way to appreciate the aromas and flavour of healthy fruits. What used to be natural and organic is now an exception, but it used to be the norm for our grandfathers. It is hard work and time is never enough. All the land is cultivated at the same time as, in addition to rotations, we also use green manure, which we lay in winter." 

The business employs around 20 people, 4 of which are part of the Ferrandes family. The main product during 10 months a year is kiwi, while Roman courgettes and strawberries are cultivated in spring.

"The kiwi sales campaign starts in early November, when the fruit reaches 6.5-7° Brix. If no early frost is expected, it is better to wait for the right time to harvest. We have refrigerated units and graders, so we can sort fruit, store it and sell it until May-June."

"There is not a lot of produce this year but quality is very good. Our kiwis hold the Pgi mark and are the best in Italy. In addition, as we employ organic techniques, there were no bacteriosis problems. Demand is quite high, I would say kiwis are just as popular as apples."

The company's leading products are: kiwis (November to May-June, around 200 tons from 6-7 hectares), watermelons and mini-watermelons (June to August, on approx. 4-5 hectares with a greenhouse-polytunnel-open-field cycle), strawberries and greenhouse (3 hectares) and open-field vegetables.

The most important client is ECOR NaturaSì, a chain with 300 stores in Italy from Sicily to Piedmont. "We deliver produce in crates supplied by them. We are also aiming at widening our range and to innovate what we do, as he who hesitates is lost!"

Azienda Agricola Biologica Ferrandes
Tel.: 0773 208574 
Cell.: 328 8570562
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