Our farm is located in Haute Corse, the national birthplace of the clementine. Nestling between the sea and the mountains, the Domaines De La Taste stretch over 110 hectares in the eastern plain of Pianiccia. This exceptional Corsican terroir has been producing sun-kissed fruit, bursting with vitamins, for more than 60 years.
In 1964, my grandparents, Geneviève and Yves De La Taste, planted vines and the first plots of clementine trees on what was then only scrubland. When my father, Bertrand, joined the family farm in 1984, my grandfather and he decided to expand the property by investing in a second farm of 30 hectares. In the 90s, they started to restructure the plots. Vines were gradually abandoned so as to be able to diversify production by planting kiwis, plum trees and pomelos.
In 2008, my father decided to embark on sustainable agriculture and Organic Farming. Since he sought to set up agricultural production systems that were more environmentally friendly, particularly by introducing micro-jet irrigation, the farm has reduced its environmental impact considerably. My father has always had a very strong bond with nature, so it was obvious to him that he should protect and respect it by gradually cutting down on the amount of artificial input and the use of pesticides. It was hard during the early years of conversion because the trees had to learn how to defend themselves against pests. Gradually, though, the trees stabilised, and the predators of the pests became established. Today, the output from our trees is regular, and the quality of our fruits has become far better compared to that of conventionally managed plots. We perform soil tests every year for all of our crops. This enables us to feed the trees with only the natural, slow-release organic fertilisers that they need. Our farm is surrounded by scrubland and a river. So no farm in the vicinity can contaminate our plots.
To be able to better meet consumers’ expectations and to create a direct link with them, my father also decided to leave the cooperative with which he was working. This required a lot of human and material investment but allowed him to control production better, and “to grow his fruits and to raise them” as he had always wanted to. My father derives great pleasure from taking care of his trees, and it’s a pleasure that he has passed on to my brothers and to me.
It’s now the turn of the third generation to take over the property. Indeed, my brothers, Anthony and Yoann, and I have resolved to perpetuate this precious family heritage, so that one day we can pass it on, in turn, to our children. My brothers and I recently planted avocado and mango trees, hoping to pioneer the cultivation of organic avocados and organic mangoes in Corsica.
At the Domaines de la Taste, we practise 100% Organic Farming. We have joined our father in building up a brand, a “Made in Corsica” quality label. Our crops are irrigated with water for agriculture drawn from a dam 10km from the farm. Each tree needs 50 litres of water during the hot period. We use a drip irrigation system, with probes to monitor the water levels. On our farm, you will see grass between the trees. This is to promote diversity and help us to eliminate pests.
Clementine production generates employment and therefore wealth on our splendid “Isle of Beauty”, Corsica. Seven permanent staff work with us on the farm, some have done so for 20 years. In the high season, we have about sixty seasonal workers who return to the farm. We pay them in accordance with the collective agreements.
We have no harvest leftovers, since fruit that is too damaged to be sold is spread over our fields and feeds our precious clementine trees.
The quality of our fruit and the method of harvesting it are in keeping with the specifications of the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).