AZIENDA AGRICOLA FALESCHINI LUIGI
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The mountain farm Luigi Faleschini is located at 700 meters above sea level, in the alpine valley Valcanale of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, land of the “three borders” (Austria, Slovenia and Italy) in the municipality of Malborghetto-Valbruna (UD).
Since 1990, the year of the beginning of the activity, fertile soils are cultivated with passion, from late spring to autumn, for the production of vegetables, ancient fruits and small fruits, with controlled and certified organic methods. In cold tunnels are cultivated the most demanding crops in terms of heat, using only sunlight as a natural source of warming.
Organic fertilization, crop rotations with various botanical families, mechanical and manual tilling, the use of natural products to control the main parasites and diseases, green manure of mixed essences to improve soil fertility, are the tools used for the organic production of fruit and vegetables, respecting the environment and the rich surrounding ecosystem.
The seasonal harvest is used in the food laboratory of the farm, located in Pontebba (UD) for the production of various products such as compotes, preserves, syrups, pickles, sweet and sour, sweet and savory creams, practically “zero kilometer”.
In the stable meadows and clearings of Valcanale grow spontaneously various “alimurgic” herbs, excellent for culinary use. These wild herbs are harvested by hand and also transformed into food preparations such as vegetable creams, pickles and sweet and sour. Among the mountain herbs from spontaneous harvesting that are transformed in the farm, there are bear garlic (Allium orsinum), mountain garlic (Allium victorialis), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), silene or sclopit (Silene vulgaris), as it is called in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, and Radìc di mont (Cicerbita alpina), a famous Slow-Food presidium typical of the Friulian mountains.
These wild herbs are harvested spontaneously in meadows and pastures, wooded environments, on the edge of farm plots and in soils not contaminated by chemical fertilizers and agropharmaceuticals. Harvesting is often long and laborious, as is the work of cleaning and manual selection. The herbs are preserved by hand: once washed, hulled and cut, the shoots of mountain garlic are blanched and acidified, to ensure safe preservation, in a mixture of apple vinegar, apple juice, agave syrup and extra virgin olive oil. The dandelion shoots, once blanched and acidified, are packed in extra virgin olive oil.
The Radìc di Mont (Cicerbita alpina or Lactuca alpina) is a wild species that grows spontaneously in the late spring months on steep mountain slopes at high altitude, in humid environments mainly of sparse woodland, such as valleys and gullies where snow remains until late season. Harvesting, which does not last more than 20 days, is done only by hand in order not to spoil the tender shoots, picked one by one. Once the harvest is over, the shoots are transformed into preserves in oil and sweet and sour.
The most laborious phase consists in the cleaning and peeling of each single spray, which aims to eliminate any earthy residue present; the shoots are then blanched and acidified through a mixture of traditional ingredients based on vinegar and selected spices. The filling phase of the glass jars is also manual, as it is necessary to arrange the sprouts (to which extra virgin olive oil of Friulian origin is added) in the most orderly way possible to ensure a perfect preservation.
The yield of the product after processing is rather low and hardly exceeds 40%, but the result of such hard work certainly satisfies the palates of the most attentive and demanding consumers of wild herbal products.
When tasted, the Radìc di Mont is markedly reminiscent of the scents of mountain herbs and freshly mown meadows after haymaking: it has a slightly bitter aftertaste and is pleasantly crunchy. As tradition, Radìc di Mont in its sweet and sour version and in oil, is an excellent accompaniment for Friulian cured meats, such as raw ham, lightly smoked game sausages and salted meat; it goes well with soft cheeses, such as ricottine di malga, accompanied by a traditional polenta.
The raw shoots of Radìc di Mont can also be used for the preparation of risottos, pies or in the filling of wild herb ravioli.
These vegetable appetizers in extra virgin olive oil are made with farm vegetables from the summer period, such as peppers, eggplants, zucchini, onions and cherry tomatoes, which are picked very fresh, at the right degree of ripeness in the plant, are peeled, cut and blanched in a traditional mixture. Capers, black olives and carefully selected spices are added to the vegetables. Ratatuia can be used as an appetizer for cold cuts and cheeses, to season pasta, gnocchi or bruschetta.
This extra fruit jam combines within it flavors of fruits typical of the mountain territory and grown on the farm. The sweetness of raspberry goes well with the characteristic aroma of rhubarb, and the mint helps to give the product a pleasant note of freshness. This jam is ideal for breakfast in the morning, for white yogurt or for the preparation of desserts. It can also be combined with cheeses such as the Friulian “Formadi Frant” and “Çuç di Mont” dairy.
In a small food laboratory owned by the company, a few kilometers from the farm, they produce vegetable preserves, such as vegetables in oil, sweet and sour, vegetable creams, jams, syrups and fruit juices. The goal is to provide the customer with a product harvested and made at km 0, applying a logic of short supply chain.
The careful and targeted choice of raw materials, processing ingredients and suppliers, the continuous on-site research of old recipes with the subsequent reworking and creation of new preparations, in accordance with the rural folk tradition, are the goals that the company intends to pursue to reach the highest quality levels, satisfying the expectations of the most demanding consumers.
The company’s trademark Savors di cjase (vernacular saying for “) represents the recovery of popular culinary traditions resulting from a careful study of recipes and ingredients used to make these vegetable preserves.