For the last week we have been here at Barbialla Nuova Fattoria in Montaione, Italy. The landscape is amazing, taking you to a place where time stood still. Rolling pasture, olive groves, orchards, and natural woods make up a mix of the property. The white Chianine cows dot the hilltops as we take our morning walk down the hills to the main farm building, while birds of all kinds sing their songs. It is peaceful and serene!
Barbilla Nuova raises about 100 head of Chianine cows. All of their feed is grown here on the farm, from hay, alfalfa and some wheat. Nothing is brought in from the outside. The farm also produces fresh olive oil, honey, and during season hunts for porcini mushrooms and truffles in their woods. We have had the opportunity to taste the olive oil that was produced on the farm in 2012, and we must say that we have not tasted olive oil like this before. The difference compared to most of what we purchase in the States is worlds apart, giving you the feeling that you are eating olives straight from the tree – green, earthy, vibrant, and fresh.
About 70% of the 500 hectares (1,235 acres) is left in it’s natural state with quite a few hiking trails throughout the property. Dotting the property are a variety of fruit trees and herbs, as well as wild fennel, garlic, and asparagus that can be found in the woods. There is something special about making dinner with items that you found while foraging.
The other focus of Barbialla Nuova is their Agritourismo that caters to guests from all over the world, allowing them to experience nature and a working farm. All of the buildings are rustic farmhouses that have been restored using natural materials.
You can tell in all aspects of their business, from tourism to farming, that Barbialla Nuova goes to great lengths to make sure that they take care of the land, sustainability being one of their main focuses. We are happy to be here to volunteer and excited to learn from their knowledge.
More to come as internet is a 25 minute hike from our place =)