By Patrizia Cherici
Ortobono is Alfredo Giorni’s organic farm that for years has had its roots in the heart of the Tuscan Valtiberina and produces vegetables in full respect of the environment and nature. The passion for authenticity is the essence of the company and what characterizes its way of working. Respect for the environment, the use of fertilizers that are harmless to the soil and plants, has led to cultivation, both in greenhouses and in the field of certified organic vegetables.
“We are what we eat”, quoted the philosopher L. Feuerbach, because the quality of life depends, to a large extent, on the quality of food”.
The Ortobono organic farm – says the owner Alfredo Giorni – was born in 1994 from my passion and a very strong love for nature that led me to get closer to the land. My father and I started growing peppers in the open field, then came the idea of growing in greenhouses as well in order to prolong the seasonality. At the beginning of my adventure I practiced conventional agriculture, however, being attentive to respect for the environment and health, I decided to no longer use chemicals for cultivation and I noticed that the quality and freshness of my vegetables were appreciated and requested in a particular way. After a few years, through a self-taught experience, then consolidated by attending professional courses on organic farming, I understood that it is possible to cultivate completely without the use of chemicals: a difficult choice, but one that I have never regretted, obtaining in 2004 the “organic farming” certification.
After a collaboration with large-scale distribution, I decided to interrupt it due to the lack of satisfaction from a professional point of view, so I began to make myself known through local markets in the Tiber Valley, passing through the Mercatale in Montevarchi, up to exhibiting at the Salone del Gusto in Turin”.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he says, “and one of a kind, which gave me the push to open my own store in 2005, here in San Leo di Anghiari where it is still located today. Initially, we mainly sold our agricultural products, honey, oil and wine, which I bought directly from the producers I met by attending the various markets. In 2008, following numerous requests from our customers for other products such as pasta, biscuits, jams and more, we decided to expand the proposal: this is how the Organic Products Shop, Ortobono, was born”.
“I would like to tell the story of the name we chose: having the need to give an identity and therefore a logo to this activity, I turned to a renowned painter from Sansepolcro. The artist came in person, made a careful inspection of the farm and created my logo as it is today: I liked the sketch immediately – classic love at first sight! – … except for the inscription he had inserted: “Ortobon” which resonated with me as a Venetian accent. So I thought: since we are in Tuscany and we use ‘bono’ and not ‘buono’– why not call it “Ortobono”? And that’s how the current name of the shop was born!”
“To date, Ortobono,” continues Alfredo, “in addition to our vegetables, offers a wide range of selected organic products, which we buy directly from producers, possibly Tuscan or Italian, with a certain standard of quality: for us it is essential to work and collaborate with companies that reflect a certain ethic and competence. In our shop you will find everything you need to do a complete shopping: pasta, cereals, condiments, honey, jams, wine, biscuits, flour, yeasts, cheeses, preserves, legumes, juices, drinks, sweeteners and much more. Nowadays it is very easy to find agricultural products throughout the year, but it is not easy to guarantee their flavour and genuineness: in fact, each product has its own seasonality and it is only by respecting this aspect that you can offer products that preserve their authentic taste!”
Supplements deserve special attention: “Going forward with time and through personal experience – adds Alfredo – we have discovered that supplementation is essential in nutrition. So, in addition to the excellent products and first foods, we have also included supplements to complete the offer: first and foremost organic silicon, a very interesting product that serves to stimulate the formation of the collagen and cartilage, thus relieving joint pain. We also have multi-vitamin supplements to boost the immune system, lactic ferments and essential oils. A corner of the shop is also dedicated to gluten-free and vegan products, vegetable drinks such as almond, rice and coconut milk. Here you can also find the products of the ‘Il Pino’ bakery in San Giustino, including excellent focaccia and bread made with sourdough, flour of ancient grains and baked in a wood-fired oven. Of course, we cannot fail to mention the company that produces the oil that we have been selling since the beginning of the activity: the Tuscan farm ‘Le Sorgenti di Scansano’, the city of oil and wine par excellence”.
“During the holiday season, we decided to offer our products in the form of gifts as Christmas baskets, which the customer can compose to his taste if he wishes. We also prepare gift baskets for companies that want to make a present for their customers or employees. During the Christmas period we also offer typical products, all strictly organic, such as panettone, pandoro, nougat or completely vegan desserts”.
A service that Ortobono offers is home delivery of groceries: by Wednesday at noon you can place orders by phone or on WhatsApp, and on Friday evening after 5.30 pm deliveries begin. Among the customers of home deliveries we have a historic restaurant in Sansepolcro: the ‘Pizzeria da Totò’.
Currently our team is made up of me, my mother Angiolina and two fantastic collaborators, Laura and Michela. When you enter Ortobono you immediately find a family environment where the welcome is so warm that you feel at home. Shopping becomes a real pleasure! -And when you close the door behind you, always leave in a good mood because their joy is contagious!- Our principle is to dedicate ourselves with professionalism and attention to those who come to us, welcoming them with a smile”.
“For the loyal readers of the magazine – concludes Alfredo – we have reserved a welcome gift for all those who will visit our store by presenting a copy of Valley Life”
Info: Ortobono, Via Enrico Fermi 18 – Anghiari
Tel: 0575 788891