Romagna is a small enchanted garden, where peaches, pears, apples and plums grow thanks to their producers’ passion and love for the land. These are the words of Gabriele Bandini, the owner of a farm called La Rosa, the first protagonist of our “Stories of the land”
Travelling across Romagna at certain times of the year and looking at the farmland all around, one cannot avoid thinking about a line of a popular song, that is “Romagna in fiore” (blooming Romagna). A fertile, flat but never monotonous land, subdivided into many, small-sized plots whose owners share not only love for nature but also another key factor: the passion for the land they cultivate and in which they live. This is something that Gabriele Bandini knows very well. He is a young businessman who, together with his brother Ronnie, runs La Rosa, a farm located a few kilometers away from Faenza. He is one of the several growers who joined Cooperativa Granfrutta Zani and one of those who place their heart, hands and mind at the service of the land on a daily basis to produce natural and tasty fruit. He is the protagonist of our first “Story of the land”, the first one who told us what does it mean to live and work in the fields every day, and what does it mean to search for quality every day.
Gabriele, first of all, please tell us about your farm. How long have you been running it?
My brother and I took over the family holding in 2003 and today we are cultivating 55 hectares of fields, of which 40 are planted with fruit such as apricots, peaches, nectarines, pear and apples. La Rosa farm has been existing since 1961: it was founded by our parents and today we are proud of carrying on their business with the lessons and values we learned from them. The farm used to be smaller, we have developed it over the years although certain ideas didn’t change at all: care for quality, the wellbeing of plants, and the search for the perfect product.
What do you mean by “perfect product”?
A perfect fruit is healthy, safe and tasty, it is something that you can bring to the table and eat with satisfaction. This kind of fruit is the result of painstaking activities in the fields, care for details, love and passion for our own land and work. It is not an easy job: our work is not only bread and roses, there are thorns as well, that is daily hard labour. The plant is not a machine that you can switch on and off whenever you want, it must be continuously cared for and we can never drop the guard. However, seeing how fruit grows from scratch and reach up to 150-200 grams of weight is really rewarding for us.
How did you reach these results? Those who do not work in farming find it quite difficult to figure out the amount of work required to grow fruit they buy in supermarkets.
We work on a continuous cycle. This year harvest time began in the middle of May and is almost over. Soon after that, we will start working for the next harvest, trying to create the better conditions for helping our plants to yield their fruit. We strive to reach these results limiting the use of pesticides and insecticides. In this respect we rely on the assistance provided by Granfrutta Zani’s experienced technicians, who support us all the time.
Which has been your most rewarding harvest this year?
This year we managed to meet a great challenge. Our pride has been the production of Galaschno apples, a specific variety of Gala apples, that has proven to be excellent both in terms of quality and quantity.
And what are you planning for next year?
As usual, many nice (and good) things. We want to grow and further improve our products and, above all, there is a great novelty: we are working on the production of a new variety of plums, the Metis plums. This is another challenge that we have taken up together with Granfrutta Zani. We are optimistic: as an Italian saying goes: “If they are roses (or La Rosa), they will bloom”, which means “Time will tell”.