Puro Carmignano’s Alphabet
21 words, from A to Z, describing us, representing our values and everything we stand for and strive for on a daily basis.
“A” for API (Bees)
A is the first letter of the alphabet, and for us Api (bees) have been the beginning of everything. We started with 2 hives, partly for fun and partly as a challenge to ourselves, but now we have about 70 families and we could not imagine our life without them. We have 4 separate apiaries where our friends produce Acacia, Chestnut and, of course, Wildflower honey. When we are in the apiary we immerse ourselves in their life, in their scents, in their gestures, in their fears… and everything else disappears, time stops and sometimes we stop to look around their house, with respect. The respect that there must always be for nature in general. Like all jobs, this one is very demanding, but it is so exciting that when you leave in the morning, you don’t say “I’m going to work”, you say “I’m going to the bees…”.
“B” for BIOLOGICAL
Being organic, even before having a certification, means working and living in a healthier and more respectful way towards the environment that surrounds us. Ever since we started our adventure, we have been using only natural products in our company; our bees and plants bear witness to this, and our products are the result of this choice. And if, for a couple of years now, we have also been converting to certified organic… So much the better, isn’t it?
“C” for CARMIGNANO
The place where we would like to live if we didn’t already. A small, honest village nestled in the hills. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make you feel ‘at home’; and that little bit is found in the smiles of our old friends, the shopkeepers, the fellow villagers you meet in the square; a beautiful community, divided into good-natured factions like any self-respecting small Tuscan village, but always united when help is needed. Carmignano may seem a little hostile to those who come from outside, but if you stop and take a good look, you’ll notice that here, every ‘bottega’ has a place to sit and chat with friends… just like at home.
“D” for DANIELA
“Weren’t you supposed to leave and never come back?” But no. In life you change, you evolve; you do it for love, for reasoning, for necessity, or for a lot of other reasons, but you change, and maybe it happens that from a career woman with a lot of “suits”, you find yourself with a beekeeper’s suit bigger than you are. It happens, it happened to me, and although I would never have said it, I have happily put down roots here, like the olive trees on the farm. Here, with real friends around the fire, who don’t make me regret my choice, and who indeed spur me on to move forward even though I remain firm… With my roots…
“E” for EMOTIONS
Puro Carmignano is for us a generator and multiplier of infinite emotions. From the almost childlike amazement of an icy dawn breaking over the hills around us or a warm spring sunset disappearing behind the same hills, to the fatigue and discouragement of that same morning frost. From the joy of knowing you have created a quality product and the enthusiastic compliment of someone who has tasted it, to the fear of not making it… physically and morally. In short… nothing special, you might say! And yet in reality there is something special… behind all this passion and all the other emotions that affect us every day, there are you… friends… simple acquaintances… or loyal customers. The people who give us unique emotions every day and who make Puro Carmignano possible and so fascinating! To all of you… thank you!
“F” for FIGS
If you know Carmignano, you know that the fig tree has been cultivated on these hills since Etruscan times. It is part of our tradition, like oil and wine. The fig tree is a generous plant, like the olive tree, like the vine; and generous are its fruits in all their variations, one above all the famous “Fichi Secchi di Carmignano”. We try to keep up the tradition by transforming our figs into jams and compotes, as well as drying them according to the regulations of the Associazione Produttori Fichi Secchi di Carmignano (Association of dried fig producers of Carmignano) and Slow Food (of which we are a member)… and modestly, we feel very… “figs”!!!
“Essere fico” a frequent Italian idiom meaning to be cool.
“G” for GARIBALDO
Garibaldo, my father-in-law, it is thanks to him that Puro Carmignano exists. He gave me the opportunity to manage the family land as I saw fit, and thanks to this he helped me to recover relationships that I will always carry in my heart. He believed in me and above all he never interfered with my decisions. A man of other times and of few words, although he always says what needs to be said. Smiling eyes in an austere face, a 93-year-old warrior who never gives up, but who manages to accept the passing of time with admirable serenity. Thank you Gari.
“H” for HYGGE
Hygge for the Danes, but also for Scandinavians in general, is a word that could be defined as “inner comfort”; not as a momentary feeling, but more like a lifestyle…. Taking more time for ourselves, doing what “really” makes us feel good, sharing spaces and moments with those who really care about us, and who share the same passions with us. This is what I wanted to achieve in my work; this is what I want to pass on to those who come and visit us… A convivial and comfortable place with genuine and honest products; in short, a “hygge” place where you can find… a chair for your soul.
“I” for INCONTRI (Encounters)
Life is made up of encounters, upheavals, opportunities and novelties. It is during my journey to become a ‘farmer’ that I have met (and am still meeting) fantastic, brilliant, proactive people who give my work more and more meaning and positive impetus. Honestly, I didn’t think I would find so much complicity and empathy in this field, but here I am, listening and sharing points of view, advice, criticism and opinions with so many nice people, from simple customers to professionals… Life is made up of encounters, and certain encounters change your life!
In the picture “The Visitation” oil painting on wood (202×156 cm) by Pontormo, dated around 1528-1530 and kept in the Propositura dei Santi Michele e Francesco in Carmignano.
“L” for LAVORO (Work)
“If you cannot work with love, but only with reluctance, then it is better to leave your work, and sit at the temple door and accept alms from those who work with joy. For if you make bread with indifference, you will make a bitter bread that feeds only half,” wrote Khalil Gibran more than a hundred years ago. “Or look for opportunities so that you can do a job you really like!” (I thought)!!! This does not mean that everything becomes easy, without problems, worries and fatigue, but when at the end of the day you eat that “bread”, sharing it with your fellow diners, even if it is little, it will be the best and fairest food in the world.
“M” for MUST
Must is the unfermented product of pressing or crushing grapes; it is the first transformation of grapes into wine. We, on the other hand, make a special product from unripe grape must: AGRESTO! It is a sweet and sour condiment similar to balsamic vinegar, which was apparently already known to the Romans and perhaps also to the Etruscans…. It is excellent in salads, as a dressing for meat or fish and as a reduction on cheese or desserts… The best? Raw! Together with oil for a pinzimonio of seasonal vegetables!!! Haven’t you tasted it yet?! You don’t know what you’re missing….
“N” for NOCCIOMIELE
We had tasted it a few years before at a trade fair, but we didn’t like it, it tasted too… like honey. Then, one day, I reconsidered the product, changed the percentages, the roasting of the hazelnuts, and the nocciomiele became perfect (at least in my opinion)! There are so many hazelnut creams, one above all is an icon, and an icon it must remain, in the good and less good of its ingredients; however, let’s leave nocciomiele to its simplicity. The simplicity of being honey, hazelnut paste and nothing else.
“O” for OIL
“Everyone” knows about extra virgin olive oil, “many” appreciate its taste, “not many”, however, are able to understand the difference between quality or non-quality oil, “few” unfortunately know all the work that goes into a bottle of genuine oil, and “very few” understand the value and potential of this product. In our own small way, we try to do things ‘properly’, both for the environment and for the quality of the product. It’s not easy, it’s true, but it’s good to believe in it, even better to try and wonderful to succeed. When we receive compliments about our “green gold” from “all”, “many”, “not many”, “few” and “very few” we are really “happily ever after”… just like in a fairy tale…
“P” for PURO
When we were thinking about what to name our future farm, we wanted something that would immediately identify us, a name that would be easy to remember but also describe our way of being… We were just being born… pure and simple… like a child. What is more pure than a child? A child says what it thinks, and does what it says; it is uncompromising, and if it wants something it tries to get it at any cost… but always with its purity. We are like that, sometimes frank, not very diplomatic, but simple and authentic like children (who, by the way, have a lot of fun!!!).
“Q” for QUALITY LIFE
QUALITY – “Notion to which are attributed those aspects of reality susceptible to classification or judgement. Quality of life, quality of work, quality of a raw material, quality of a product, etc…” Well, in this case, the dictionary has hit the nail on the head… one above all… Quality of life! I chose this job in order to obtain the quality of life I want, and although it is neither simple nor easy, it allows me to live peacefully… and those who know me well know that the word “peacefully” with me is really associated with difficulty!!!
“R” for RETE (Network)
Networking… is synonymous with sharing… knowledge, skills and contacts. Our professional life is a path that every day is continually enriched by comparisons and new collaborations with companies and people with whom we share the same principles and values… The aim is to achieve a common goal, which is only possible “TOGETHER”, transmitting passion with the desire and hope to “score a goal” in the hearts of our customers… To all these people, to all these companies we say thank you because they also contribute to making our work special.
“S” for SLOW FOOD
Good, Clean and Fair. This is the slogan of Slow Food… a slogan that also represents our concept of the quality of “agricultural” life and consequently of food production. Sharing these principles, it was therefore natural to embark on a common path with the commitment to restore the right value to food, respecting and protecting biodiversity, enhancing local traditions in harmony with the environment and ecosystems. The basis of this journey is the Dried Figs of Carmignano, a “Slow Food Presidium”, a project that has been protecting and safeguarding this small-scale, quality product for 20 years now, made according to ancient traditional practices. Simple Farmers, Authentic Flavours.
“T” for TRADITION
What are traditions? They are the complex of memories, facts and testimonies transmitted from one generation to another. Basically, it is what we learn from our fathers to teach to our children. In our opinion, however, in generational transitions there must always be adjustments dictated by the evolution of things, so tradition does not mean “the same as 100 years ago”, because the work, methods, tastes, are no longer the same, we must respect what has been handed down to us, but we must also try to adapt and improve it, if necessary. Bees, for example, use a system called trophallaxis to transform nectar into honey; that is, they pass a drop of nectar to each other, each adding their own contribution, until they achieve the perfect result, honey. We think that when we receive something good from our ancestors, we should try to improve it and pass it on to future generations. Unfortunately, we are much more clumsy than the bees, so we are unlikely to achieve the perfect result, but we have to believe in it a little and, above all, we have to…. try… try… try…
“U” for ULIVO (Olive Tree)
The “Ulivo” (or “Olivo”, you can say it both ways), is one of the plants, together with the cypress and the vine, that most characterize the Tuscan landscape. The olive tree is said to be a generous plant, both for the great production of branches and fruit. However, man must also be generous with it, keeping it healthy and vigorous. If it is in the right place, it can live for hundreds of years and give us its fruit every year. So let’s take care of it, because its roots are our roots too…
“V” as VINEYARD
To call oneself ‘Puro Carmignano’ and not talk about vineyards would have been a paradox. Although we do not produce wine, we are in an area where this nectar is a serious business, and a 300-year-old DOCG is not for everyone.
The beautiful vineyards scattered among the olive trees, oaks and cypresses frame our territory, changing colours and shades with the changing seasons and making our views as unique and exciting as a good glass of Carmignano wine.
To tell the truth, we too, in our own small way, are involved with vineyards, but we use the grapes for something different.
Those who know us well know that for us, too, agresto is a serious, unique and exciting business… just like our territory.
“Z” for SERGIO
Did you really think that Puro Carmignano’s alphabet would end without mentioning my he?
Many people expected it beforehand:
A for Amore… C for Complice… M for Husband… R for “Ragazzo”… S for “Sergino”… T for “Trence”…😁.
He, although he is, and could be anywhere, within my alphabet, I have deliberately left him for last, because that is how he wants to appear. He’s the bear who wants to be alone, who doesn’t want to be noticed so much, who has chosen the solitude of the work of the field and of the ” Bat-Cave ” after 30 years of office and of relationships with so many people…
Z is the last letter, but without it the alphabet would not be complete.
Him last, but first in importance in my life, because without him… …I… …simply… wouldn’t be me!