ORGANIC AGRICULTURE AS A PHILOSOPHY, NOT A LABEL: OUR METHOD OF PRODUCTION
‘There was a time…’ We could start the story of our gardens and our herbs like this, in the long journey they take from our fields to your table. Thanks to our methods of dehydrating our products, you have our products available to you all year round.
The sowing of the seeds generally happens in a protected atmosphere. Germination of seeds needs an internal temperature of about 18-20°C in a plot of peat and sand. When the plants have reached the optimum size (5-6 true leaves), our expert farmers proceed with transplanting the seed into the ground, which is pre-ploughed and prepared to accommodate them.
It is a good day on the farm when we decide to transfer the new plants into our herb garden where, under the guidance of our experts, all of the plants forming the bases of our products are planted in long lines. The satisfaction of the plants reaching full maturity is great, watching the previously empty land take on new life, ready to begin the path towards generating new things.
It is crucial for us to grow sturdy and healthy young plants: the ground must be constantly watered, hoed and above all, respected. At San Pio X, we have decided against using pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and instead use 100% natural compost. Our plot becomes a garden full of colour, aromas, insects that rest on the most beautiful flowers, and voices as our collection of various products is harvested, each plant taking a different path, depending on the use.
Harvest and Drying
The aromatic herbs are collected in the “balsamic period,” in which the essential oils reach their maximum concentration. They are then placed in a drying machine to form our dehydrated herbs, and used as ingredients for flavoured salts, vinegars and oils.
The medicinal herbs are generally harvested in mid-morning or late afternoon to avoid moisture due to dew, which causes deterioration and is harmful to the plant. The flowers or leaves, depending on the plant, are harvested and are then immediately put in low drying temperatures and collected to maintain all of the herbal properties.
Our vegetables, harvested in the period of maximum ripeness, make their journey to our on-site laboratory where they are washed, cut and placed in the drying machine within 24/48 hours of harvesting. The laboratory and the dryer are located inside the farm, a few meters from soil cultivation, so dehydrated vegetables can maintain all of their properties, while avoiding the drawbacks associated with transport and storage.
Drying takes place at a low temperature, a process which favours the maintenance of all the organic characteristics of the vegetables which, once rehydrated, contain all of the properties of the fresh product. In this way, we have ‘fresh’ vegetables all year round, because they are collected in their greatest moment of ripeness and then dried out.