The Carbone Luciano farm was born in 1950, when my grandfather rented the land. It is the result of the work of three generations with the hope that the new generation will carry on this tradition. After various experiences in Europe and Africa, I decided to return to invest in my homeland. The beauty of cultivating fields in Apulia is due to its mild climate and particularly fertile land for growing wheat, tomatoes and asparagus. Initially, we grew cereals and leguminous crops because there was no availability to irrigate the fields. Now we have an irrigation system that allows us to grow various types of vegetables, in addition to a part of the farm that we have kept as cereal fields. The approximately 70 hectares that make up the farm are divided into: 19 hectares for growing wheat, 29 for asparagus, 8.5 of tomatoes, 1.5 of chili peppers and 12 of various vegetables, depending on market demand and what we want to produce.
Hence the twenty years of cultivation of the land using an organic method (we hold Bios and Global Gap certificates) and purely family-based. Our organic farming combines tradition with innovative techniques. For example, we use drones for targeted treatment of the fields with organically authorised plant protection products when necessary. In addition, we are about to start with the release of beneficial insects, in order to reduce or completely eliminate the use of plant protection products or natural repellents. Around our farm there are many other vegetable producers, but they are in conventional agriculture. In order to prevent our produce from being contaminated, we leave 10 metres of uncultivated area from each of our neighbours. This also encourages the growth of native plants and the presence of insects, increasing the biodiversity of our farm. We are always in close contact with these neighbours to try to convince them to take the plunge into organic farming.
To minimise water consumption, we use a weather station that allows us to reduce water waste and constantly monitors soil and air humidity to prevent fungal plant diseases. The water we use to irrigate our fields comes from wells and is distributed in the field through a drip irrigation system. The amount of water consumed during the year depends very much on the plants we grow. Our average annual water consumption is 12 litres. To make sure that the water we use is free of contaminants and dangerous agents, we have it monitored frequently by a certified testing laboratory.
The electricity we use comes from renewable sources, such as photovoltaic panels. In addition to all this, I would also like to start applying biodynamic farming methods, to take a further step towards respecting planet Earth.
A lot of the work in the company, such as harvesting and preparing orders, is completely manual. For this reason, I have been working with around 30 employees for more than 10 years now, all of whom are paid a salary in line with the collective agreement.
We always try to make maximum use of the products we harvest. What we can't send to our customers, we give back to the land, so that it becomes fertiliser for future crops. We do the same with grass. After removing the grass, we leave it in the field so that it can increase the organic matter in the soil. The grass is removed mechanically, but in the parts closest to the plants we do it manually so as not to damage them. In some vegetables (tomatoes, peppers and chili peppers) we use cornstarch mulch to reduce the growth of grass.