L'Orto Felice Farm

42 images Created 13 Jul 2020

Azienda Agricola L’Orto Felice
Caterina Romanelli farms 8 hectares in the city of Udine. She took over her family farm two years ago from her father. Her grandfather had dairy cows and was part of a typical cooperative that shared milk for cheese making – each farmer taking all of the milk for one month and making cheese with the farmers switching off months. Her father transitioned the farm to organic vegetables in 1988. Her grandparents continued to be part of the farm until they died about 5 years ago at which point the farm had grown too big for just the family to work and they needed to become more of a business with employees than a family farm. Caterina came home after working in sustainable finance in Paris but wanting to do something with more direct impact. She is currently working on transitioning the farm from an older style family farm that doesn’t track personal labor or expenses to one focusing on finances in addition to ecological and social metrics to make the farm sustainable in the long term. 
Among many other things, Caterina grows Radicchio col poc - “poc” is dialect and means “root”, referring mostly to grumulo radicchio types harvested with the root on and trimmed to a point. She also forces radicchio (see the Azienda Agricola Rosato section for more on this process) in little stalls in an old barn filled with damp sand and manure mix. Plants are transplanted into the stalls from the field and covered with black plastic. They remain there one month before being harvested and transformed into beautiful delicate specimens.
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