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Casa vecchia

Agricoltori Custodi has its roots in “Casa Vecchia”, a small, autonomous family-run farm with an ancient tradition located in Villa Prato, close to Correggio, the heart of Emilia-Romagna and of the Italian Food Valley.

Called by everyone in the surroundings “Cà Vècia”, “Casa Vecchia” was born in 1933 when Giovita Gherpelli, together with his wife Maria and the seven children, Stefano, Garibaldi, Zelmira, Antonietta, Falaride, Mario and the younger Fortunato, settled in a small land. That was too much wet and not suitable for anything, according to the thought of many local people. However, the Gherpelli family decided to stay.

The high humidity of the ground was essential for cultivations. They immediately began to work: vineyard, fruit trees, vegetables, cereals. They also raise pigs, hens, chickens, ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys in a stable which. And they started to grow cereals to feed the animals and themselves.

“Casa Vecchia” became a farm, able to sustain the family owner with the production of good food and wine. When the products exceeded their needs, they began to sell.

Work in the fields was hard and a healthy and strong body was and is an essential requirement. To that aim, the Gherpelli family began to raise and cultivate wisely, and according to the best practices, local grains. They kept aside the good seeds for sowing in the coming year. After the handmade harvest and the threshing in the barnyard with the first machines driven by tractors connected by large leather belts, they selected the best seeds from the harvest, the ones mostly able of germinating in order to regenerate new and increasingly beautiful ears. To the aim, they used wooden machines such as fans and rewinds that today seem like museum pieces, which we still use today.

While “Casa Vecchia” was expanding thanks to the work of all the family members, Giovita was hit by a car while crossing the road in the downtown on his bicycle in a sad day. The tragic event tremendously hit Fortunato while working in the fields. He collapsed in tears. However, Fortunato and his son Romano will give birth to new sprouts from those tears. He succeeded in expanding the borders thanks to investments in larger lands. Plus, he improved production and the supply chain. He basically widened a company still rooted in the grandfather Giovita.

Romano had learned those good agricultural practices as part of an ancient way of taking care of land and he followed that pathway. At the age of twenty he married the daughter of an artisan from Reggio Emilia whom he falls in love with at a dance party. Since that evening, they never left. Laila today takes care of the budgeting and control of the farm. They had two children, Marco and Andrea. The Gherpellis are a family of workers, artisans and artists, storytellers, musicians, poets, actors, While working in the fields, songs, stories, comedies, poems, plays often come to life. The so-called Galoun, as they are nicknamed for their big thighs, are a honest, healthy family, with ancient values, respected and respectful towards anyone.

Of the Romano’s sons, Marco graduated in classical guitar at the conservatory, although today he is IT Manager a a multinational based in Milan. But he still keeps writing songs that sooner or later will see the light.

After graduating in Management Engineering at Alma Mater in Bologna and a scholarship won at the “Silvio D’Amico” Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, Andrea is committed to many theater tours, television and film productions as an actor. But he never leaves his beloved fields and re-sows the local grains: spelled, corn, hemp, legumes such as chickpeas. He still produces those foods that always kept all Galoun healthy and robust for his great-grandfather Giovita times. Andrea is now a guardian farmer with the mission of keeping safe ancient varieties of cereals. Thanks to the help of Gino, a mechanic, and Angelo, a carpenter, equipment such as old fans and rewinds have been restarted. He follows training programs in organic, regenerative and biodynamic agriculture in order to combine and contaminate innovative elements with those good ancient agricultural practices. Together with his beloved partner, Elena Luce, Andrea Libero is continuing to passionately produce products as result of a 4-generations experience of stubborn and hard work in sustainable and ecological agriculture.

Today, as many years ago, we continue to cultivate, but also to write, play and cook, we raise animals, raise children and eat together at the table.

“Casa Vecchia” takes care of cereals cultivated under careful supervision and followed throughout growth and maturation. The ancient and innovative passion of Andrea Libero and Elena Luce is transforming “Casa Vecchia” into “Agricoltori Custodi”.

Land, cultivation and healthy food are absolute values and we take care of them.