Gravina di Puglia – Thirty-seven-year-old Maria Desiante grows organic Italian wheat and grains, as well as ancient wheat varieties, which include the prized Senatore Cappelli variety. Difficult to cultivate, with its stalk that can reach up to a metre-and-a-half in height and its beautiful, distinctive ear, Senatore Cappelli is more susceptible to weather conditions than other types of wheat but is also able to draw all the nutrients it needs from the earth. This is thanks to its long roots, which nourish the wheat destined to be made into different qualities of pasta.
Maria Desiante became a farmer at age twenty-two, when she decided to give up her university studies in pharmacy and devote herself to the land after a distressing family bereavement. Today, not only does she run her family’s commercial farm, but, in 2005, she began the process of converting all her land to organic means. It was a long, two-year transition, not to mention a challenge in terms of ethics and sustainability. She now dreams of spreading organic culture, first amongst farmers and then to younger generations.
Products: Organic Senatore Cappelli durum wheat
“Ours was a lifestyle choice, an ethical choice. You can’t appreciate the value of the land if you aren’t madly in love with it. All of us who do this job have a duty to nourish the younger generations as best we can and to teach them to respect the earth”.
Quote from I semi di mille rivoluzioni, Ponte alle Grazie 2014.