Giving Thanks To Agricultural Families Around the World
I recently returned from another visit to the Cibus fair that takes place in Parma, Italy. This fair is remarkable because it showcases probably the largest gathering of specialty Italian food producers in once place, and it takes many halls to accommodate all that want to participate. As I navigate the seemingly endless rows of extraordinary foods, I marvel at the passion and pride that the Italians have for their foods.
You may already know this, but it bears repeating that the agricultural business is a lot of hard work. Certainly some machines have been created to automate some of the processes, but it is still a hands on business overseen by experienced and dedicated artisans. In Italy I am always impressed that the artisans are often descendents of the family that started the business decades or even centuries before. I can’t tell you how often, as I move around the show, that I receive a business card of a person with the same family name that appears on the brand. It is very satisfying to me to know that generation after generation a member of the family chooses to carry on the family business because they are proud of the family heritage and want to see it continue, and thrive.
In this issue, I present to you a case in point, as I introduce you to the behind the scenes details of a family run cheesemaking operation in Northern Italy marketed in America under the brand Monti Trentini. I want to thank fourth-generation family members Pietro and Maria Vittoria for taking time out of their busy day to allow me to experience the creation of some very special Italian cheese like Grana Padano and Asiago. Both Pietro’s and Maria Vittoria’s fathers, whom are brothers, work assiduously every dayto make cheese. One brother lives above the retail store on the property that includes the production facility because someone has to be present to receive the milk deliveries (which often start at 3 am) and deal with any unforeseen problems. The other brother lives just up the hill, where he also manages his own herd of 50 cows, milking them early in the morning before heading down to help at the cheesemaking facility. The brother doesn’t need to have his own farm to add to the milk supply for making cheese. He does it because he love it, and it helps him better understand the demands and challenges that his milk partners experience in producing milk to support the cheese operation.
As I sit down with my family at the dinner table this weekend to enjoy some beautiful Monti Trentini Grana Padano DOP with a glass of Prosecco DOC Treviso, I give thanks to those like Monti Trentini that devote their time and expertise to produce a beautiful product that is enjoyed by many throughout the world.