Azienda Agricola Iotti Andrea, a company name as simple and genuine as the passion for agriculture that has permeated my family for over 120 years. In 2020, my father, Danilo, has decided to retire, so the company is now in my name. The farm is located in Rio Saliceto, a cheerful village in the Po Valley between the cities of Reggio Emilia and Modena, it is an old farmhouse restructured over the years by my grandfather and my father. It has always been an agricultural territory thanks to a suitable climate. The people of these lands are warm and welcoming and used to work hard and we make no exception. Over the years we have accumulated a lot of experience that made us able to range between many different crops and in the last period we launched into this new adventure, the quinoa. We are sure that you too will appreciate the final product of our work.
My farm is mainly producing grapes, from which we get a wide range of excellent balsamic vinegars that we sell under the brand Acetaia Castelli (also available on CrowdFarming). We also have many other lands where we grow different products: pumpkins, radishes, cabbage, red onions, corn, wheat...and now: quinoa.
Since I was a young boy I used to work in our fields with a hand plow or a hoe and I clearly remember the hard work, the effort and the blisters on my hands. It was tough but this experience together with my family teachings let to become a good farmer.
Quinoa is a plant that generally does not need much water, between 250mm and 500mm. In our area it rains about 300-330mm on average and the period of greatest rainfall coincides with the period of growth of quinoa, between March and July. For this reason, we do not need any further irrigation. For emergencies we have integrated sprinkler irrigation taken directly from the system of canals adjacent to the field deriving directly from the river Po.
With a view to respecting the environment, we try to be as sustainable as possible. For this reason, we can say that our production is 100% natural. We do not use any kind of pesticides or herbicides and we use natural fertilisers such as fermented cow dung. We choose this product also because the humidity, soil and climate in our region meets the requirements of cultivating quinoa. Moreover, the cultivation techniques are quite basic: if the conditions are good we only have to prepare the soil correctly, (plowing and using natural fertilizer) and water only if there is drought. After that, we only need to sift the quinoa from impurities, leave it to dry and package it. Starting in 2022, we will enter the procedures for the recognition of organic production.
In the company we are 5 men and 3 women, all with different tasks: planting, harvesting, packaging, marketing and management. We strongly believe that an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere leads to better products and a healthier company to work in. Therefore, we pay our employees, including seasonal workers, fairly so that they are happy to do their best for the company.
Surplus harvest is sold through other channels. We put the waste in a small composter and fertilise the family garden and some fruit trees with it. Alternatively, we use it directly in the field together with plant residues to increase the level of organic matter.