Supporting Local Sustainable Farms Around Rome
Along the borders and inside many of the natural parks scattered outside Rome, you'll find quirky, passionate farmers tending to the land and cultivating crops still using the methods of their ancestors.
Lorenzo, farmer-owner at Orto di ClaPi, uses a human-powered mechanical tiller.
Far beyond just avoiding chemical pesticides and agents to improve crop yield, sustainable farming is a way of life, a scientific profession and a mutual respect between humans and the earth. These farmers hold a very high moral standard for the quality of their work and the crops they yield. Of course they run a business and increasing profits is a priority, but it does not come at the expense of growing an inferior product or ruining the environment.
It's a sad truth that a lot of Roman restaurants don't take advantage of locally sourced, organic fruits and vegetables, compromising quality for the convenience and price from industrial suppliers. Without a doubt, demand from all the restaurants in Rome for fresh produce is greater than all the small producers together can handle, and frankly, the cost in volume for real organic or foraged fruits and vegetables just isn't competitive. But these decisions are driven by market prices that are too low for sustainable consumption.
At Marigold we're proud to support the local farmers who have dedicated their lives to taming the earth to provide us with the very best local fruits, vegetables, herbs and greens.
Some of the beautiful produce from Lorenzo at Orto di ClaPi. These are the kareena eggplants Domenico fried in a light tempura and served with zhoug sauce for aperitivo and dinner.
Since opening, we have proudly supported Zolle, a Rome-based company that provides direct links between over 80 small, local farmers and city residents and businesses. Besides Zolle, we are so fortunate to collaborate with local farmers that share our philosophy for real high quality, seasonal, sustainable food.
CO.BR.AG.OR Azienda Agricola Biologica
The 1970s in Rome marked a time of unrest with manifestations that called on the government to address high levels of unemployment. In April 1977, a group of young unemployed Romans decided to resolve the issue themselves by occupying an abandoned plot of land located northwest of Rome's city center. These were the origins of CO.BR.AG.OR, a cooperative of 10 farmers and 40 hectares (98 acres).
The land is tended painstakingly by hand, and the cooperative hosts rotating cereals, olive and fruit trees, vegetables and herbs that are ICEA certified organic.
Orto di ClaPi
Permaculture is considered a more strict and scientific approach to sustainable farming. Orto di ClaPi is located along the border of Parco Naturale di Martignano and under the tutelage of Lorenzo, a young, enthusiastic farmer. He considers his farm its own holistic ecosystem and places great emphasis on a balanced biodiversity, healthy soil composition, and minimal intervention.
Lorenzo demonstrates the layers of soil and how rotating crops regenerate nutrients for a healthy substrate.
Understanding soil composition is essential for any farmer. In industrial farming, chemical agents and pesticides are used to bring nutrients or neutrality to the soil, while sustainable farmers use only organic or biological methods, such as planting specific plants near crops that act as natural parasite repellent, replenish soil nutrients or balance composition.
Martina brings Domenico some of the wild herbs she foraged with her brother Samuele in Parco Naturale dei Monti Aurunci.
Fauno Azienda Agricola
Foraging is an even more extreme form of sustainable farming, with very minimal human intervention. Fauno Azienda Agricola founded by brother and sister duo Samuele and Martina, settled in a rustic farm house in the Parco Naturale dei Monti Aurunci, about 120km southeast of Rome. After a few years of studying the landscape, they developed their wild foraging, olive oil and honey products into a business.
They're understanding of the wild flora and fauna means they're holistically linked into the system. Their business is strictly limited to seasonality, from sunshine to rainfall, animal populations, wild fires and climate change. But the result is a quality of produce that has been completely untouched by humans and a purity in flavors and aromas. It's these kinds of ingredients that inspire Domenico the most, especially through his new chef menu.
Fattoria Ma' Falda
Among the serene hills and valleys outside Orvieto in Umbria, Fattoria Ma' Falda is an idyll of Italian rural life. Swedish sisters Anne Line and Åste together with Anne Line's Italian husband and a farm-full of goats, sheep and pigs. Among their treasured products are the exceptional cheeses, particularly those made fresh from their goats' milk.
Marigold Urban Garden
The Marigold urban garden is a humble homage to Domenico's green thumb and keen passion for nature. He's been growing his own basic herbs, like basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme for years on his balcony at home. A few weeks ago he constructed the herb boxes that now sit under the window of his kitchen at Marigold, and with some extra space he's able to grow a few more useful kitchen greens, like lemon verbena (which is also used to garnish the ice tea and lemonade), and leafy arugula.