The Agriblea farm is located in the Val di Noto, just 2 km from Ispica, the ancient Hispicaefundus. It is set on a slight hill about 150 metres above the level of the Ionian Sea, which is just 8 km away. It is an area dedicated to the production of vegetables, specifically tomatoes, and it was here that I was able to realise my greatest dream.
In 1998 I decided to set up Agriblea, a family-run business, which I run with the help of my children and my wife. As a boy I gained a lot of experience in the agricultural sector by practising on my family's land growing tomatoes and gaining more and more experience in processing Them. This experience has allowed us to grow and evolve in this sector, becoming one of the most important companies in Europe for the production and marketing of dried tomatoes.
Ciappa is an organic tomato without preservatives. It is dried naturally in the sun, a simple, genuine, and quality recipe. We at Agriblea aim to revive the ancient family recipe that we have treasured for years and to reintroduce the product. We want to revive that ancient ritual and to share with future generations the values and flavours of a tradition that encourages a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle. This is why Agriblea's organic dried tomatoes are as good as those made by our grandmothers.
Agriblea has been certified organic since 2001 and Bio Suisse AG certified since 2020. The journey of the Ciappa di pomodoro begins in March when the seedlings are transplanted into the open field, cultivated exclusively using organic farming methods. The seeds are NO GMO. We do not use synthetic fertilisers and we intervene on the plant with organic fertilisers and natural products, supporting and balancing it in order to strengthen its natural defences, re-establishing the harmony and vital balance of the plant's systems. Our product is grown and harvested only for sun-drying. Respect for time, favourable microclimatic conditions, good organic farming practices, such as biodegradable mulching, the use of antagonistic insects and innovative micro-irrigation techniques favour healthy and luxuriant growth of the tomato seedlings. Between June, July and August we harvest the tomatoes, when the fruit has reached the right degree of ripeness. They are then checked, selected with an optical selector and prepared (washed, cut, salted) for processing from tomatoes into Ciappa.
We are committed to protecting the land and respecting the environment, adopting a plan for environmental improvement, using eco-sustainable systems and safeguarding the local flora and fauna. We have recovered and manually reconstructed the characteristic "dry stone walls" all around the farmland in order to preserve the state of the places from a historical and cultural point of view, and to make possible the continuation and development of the microflora and fauna typical of the area that nestle and grow around the "dry stone walls". We are also entrusting a flowerbed belonging to the public green in order to keep the area always clean, green and tidy. We use a modern micro-irrigation and fertirrigation system to irrigate the land and we reuse rainwater to reduce water wastage. Since 2012 we have been using clean and renewable energy thanks to two photovoltaic systems and since 2015 we have been heating our sanitary water with two solar thermal systems. In 2015, anticipating European and Italian regulations, we introduced 100% compostable and recyclable packaging, compostable bags and trays with recyclable paper labels.
The production surplus is used by the livestock industry as animal feed or matured in special areas and composted to produce organic fertiliser.
Agriblea is GRASP certified and is committed to the protection of workers, respecting all nationalities of origin, gender, language and religion, investing in training and safety at work. We currently employ 7 women and 8 men. Respect for our employees is transformed into devotion and passion for their work and attention to our customers, who are increasingly numerous and who show us their affection by renewing their trust year after year. A disabled employee works in the office.