To talk about organic agriculture near Florence is to talk about Podere “La Croce” in the Tuscan hills, a place where organic agriculture and a love for the earth meet thanks to the passion of the Bargiacchi family.
My name is Elena and I am the second-born of the Bargiacchi siblings. I am in charge of my family’s farm, Podere la Croce, and every day I personally bring the products that I grow to the Il Desco bistrot, the organic restaurant where my sister Giulia, together with her team, creates exclusive and tasty dishes, for both vegetarian and gpoderelacroceluten free menus.
How did I start working at Podere La Croce? After working in my family’s hotel, the Hotel il Guelfo Bianco of
Florence, I realised that that wasn’t really what I wanted to do and I started to trust the signs that my body and my brain were sending to me more and more, in particular I needed to find my space in the bigger circle: the earth.

I felt the need to nourish my inner part more, my soul, and I followed a series of courses that would give me the skills to start seeding. With time, I realized I was nourishing everything: soul, body and brain. My idea was to create a place where human beings and nature could cooperate, but I had to reawaken a series of senses that in my ordinary city life, with all of its chaos and frenzy, I had to leave behind, in particular observing: we are not used to just stopping and observing, because our rhythms don’t allow us to. On the contrary, I wanted to enter this new space on tiptoes, certain that in nature there are delicate yet powerful balances that shouldn’t be compromised, and that could instead be a support. This is why I chose the organic way. And I am still surprised that human beings still think of themselves as the centre, and not just a small part, of this huge and perfect system, with all the consequences that this implies. Working on a farm could be good therapy for everybody!

The products
When we bought the farm, we found just a few olive trees and a lot of fields that needed cultivation. The project was to make the most of these fields using, on the one hand, both old and traditional farming knowledge and, on the other, new agronomic practices.carciofo
Little by little, with the help of a team of precious experts, we started giving shape to the farm. As time passed, we grew two new olive groves, an orchard of fruit trees and two large open air vegetable gardens, always sure that pursuing taste and following the seasons would be our strong suit. This clearly defined the target of people and companies that would purchase our products, but surprisingly the result was great and their enthusiasm in the project absolutely unexpected. Waiting for natural production times and respecting ecological balances, the balance of life, made our customers more aware and they became an active part of the project.

Discover more…
G.E.J. società agricola s.r.l., was created in 2003 as a family project and its name is comprised of the initials of all three of us siblings: Giulia, Elena, Jacopo. In time we decided what our specific tasks were to be: Giulia started taking care of the hotel first, and later on focused on the bistro, becoming in charge of it little by little. Every day, I am becoming more in charge of the farm. Jacopo, our younger brother, gives a huge hand to both of us when there are moments of tough work.

Elena

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