Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
Three friends working together, who all have a real love for the land, the wisdom of the stone milling used for ancient grains and the passion for bread making.
All this led Paolo Pianigiani, Marco Riggi, and Giuseppe Scialabba to start an enterprise that has all the charm of ancient flavours: sowing on the slopes of the Abbey of Badia Passignano, in the municipality of Barberino Tavarnelle, Verna, a variety of ancient wheat cultivated on the Tuscan hills with healthy and nutritional properties.
We have been following the enterprise of these three friends since the beginning, from the preparation of the land for sowing, to the plants growing and the threshing of the grain. In July they’ll be ready for the harvest.
What prompted you to do all this?
“We wanted to go back to our origins; here, till not long ago, farmers used to produce an excellent Verna soft wheat, so we’re betting on it”.
How many hectares of land are there?
“About four hectares”.
Not many farmers are left to sow grain in our areas…
“The ones who cultivate grain today use a genetically modified variety that is more resistant, does not grow much and has reduced nutritional properties”.
Is it difficult to find Verna wheat seed?
“No, there are still some who cultivate it and then there’s the seed bank. For example, what we are going to sow here we could use to bake but also to use for sowing next year.”
After sowing, don’t you use any special treatments for the plants?
“No, we just need to stop the weeds growing. We could potentially use natural fertiliser, but the soil is good, so we won’t need any further interventions”.
Paolo, Marco and Giuseppe are really excited about this adventure, so much so that they are already thinking of entrusting the harvest to expert hands as soon as the grain is ripe.
Marco, an expert in the field of stone milling, is considering which natural stone mill to entrust their “treasure” to. Natural stones grind the grain without overheating it, and is able to preserve all its rich flavour.
We’ve followed them from the first day of sowing – documenting the various phases, until today, a few days before the threshing – and will continue to do so. Now there’s a name to be chosen for this flour, and the first coming to mind to the three friends is “Farina di grano antico di Badia a Passignano”.
But this will be the last decision, until the sale that, due to the small quantity, will be done locally. This initiative has now reached maturity, and we look forward to the last phase.