From the 1960s the Quintieri family runs the “Eredi Quintieri Fausto” agricultural enterprise, named after its founder, my maternal grandfather. The farm is located in Corigliano-Rossano, in the province of Cosenza, by the Ionian sea, in an area devoted to the production of citrus fruits and olive oil – plantations which surround our farm.
For this reason, we too devote ourselves to the plantation of these two types of products. Citrus fruits (clementines, oranges, lemons and kumquats) occupy 17 hectares of land while the rest of the farm is dedicated to more than 700 century-old olive trees (some are about 500-600 years old). Real “vegetal sculptures'' that have been subjected to constraint by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Landscaping. The aim is to safeguard them, therefore they cannot be cut or uprooted, it is not possible to build anything in the olive tree grove and any extraordinary work must be authorized by the Ministry.
Following the company's philosophy of environmental protection, we believe in the importance of safeguarding basic resources like water. This is why we use T-shaped sprinklers for microirrigation, which allow us to reduce the amount of water used, because only the area of soil we want -the one closer to the roots of the tree- is actually wet. The amount of water used for each tree varies according to the seasonal features (heat, wind, humidity), and it is therefore difficult to evaluate the annual consumption of water for each plant. The water used comes from some wells we own, located within the farm.
Driven by the desire to do something in order to reduce the environmental footprint of our farm, in 2014 we started the process to convert to organic, and in 2017 we obtained the certification. Being aware that this is not enough, we decided to introduce some beehives in the farm in order to enhance biodiversity, as well as help the pollination of our trees. Moreover, we try to use local varieties, or varieties that better suit our soil, considerably reducing the use of natural resources. The soil is tilled with a harrow, and grass serves as a natural fertiliser, helping reintegrate part of the organic material lost in plantation. We have also installed photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the warehouses to produce some of the energy we use in the farm.
In a place where the social and economic situation is not exactly good, our firm has been relying, for at least 15 years, on the collaboration of 8 people, including administrative staff and workers in the fields. The workers take care of the land, trees and harvest, while the administrative staff deals with tax aspects and logistic organization of the sale. All our employees are regularly paid and protected according to current rules.
As in any farm, part of the harvest does not meet the standards to be sold as fresh fruit, yet it is of very good quality, and we use it for domestic consumption or to make preserves. The thinner remains of tree-pruning are mixed with the soil during the tilling, together with the grass, while the thicker ones are used for the fireplaces we have in the farm or given to the workers for domestic use. The remains of oil production are left to the external oil mill we use, which takes care of their disposal.