10 Jun 2021

Cascina Blu, Alberto Valentino's blueberries between innovation and tradition

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Cascina Blu was born in 2018 from the idea of Alberto Valentino and his need to make a drastic change of direction, returning to his origins and family traditions. After graduating in architecture from Turin Polytechnic, he realised that the call of the land was too strong, devoting himself full-time to the cultivation of blueberries in Ciriè, in the lower Canavese area.

THE HISTORY OF CASCINA BLU

With the help of his father, now retired, and the support of his entire family, he runs what is now a small family business committed to producing good, sustainable blueberries with an eye on research and innovation.

Cascina Blu

Why the jump from architecture to agriculture?

Quality of life. This, along with many other facets, was the main reason for my change of direction. I felt that my profession was becoming too cumbersome between me and my family, which, at the time of the first reflections on the change of direction, had recently grown with the arrival of Filippo. And then because, clearly, in my DNA, the land has a very important value; so I tried to understand if there was a possibility of leading a life at a slower pace, and I found it at blueberries . So my life has gone from working to give people quality in living to trying to give them quality in eating.

Where did the idea of growing blueberries come from in an area such as Chiria?

The area where we are located is mainly dedicated to dairy farming, and there are no orchards, but not so much for technical reasons as for tradition. We found here, just behind our house, the ideal conditions for growing blueberries and decided to take a risk by doing something that had never been seen here before; and then because it is here, at the foot of the Lanzo valleys, that our history has its roots and the emotional component has had its weight.

Cascina Blu
Cascina Blu
Cascina Blu
Cascina Blu

What are Cascina Blu's values?

Those of the rural tradition: transparency and authenticity. These are the basic values for us and for this reason we only produce one product, doing the impossible to make it genuine and natural. In the same way we like to show it to people without veils and thanks to our fields, which are crossed by a road, everyone can see and follow the agricultural activity step by step. These values go hand in hand with research, innovation and technology, which are our goal. We combine transparency with technology, and thanks to social networks we tell our followers what is happening in the fields on a daily basis, showing them everything that revolves around blueberries. With research, on the other hand, we seek technical solutions for managing the orchard to avoid the use of chemicals, to reduce consumption and emissions into the atmosphere and to obtain an increasingly natural product.

What are your main objectives?

Innovation is probably our most important goal, not only for running the plant but also for everything that goes with it. As of this year, following extensive research, we will be packaging our products in containers made from 100% recycled and recyclable paper. Reducing the ecological footprint of our product is fundamental for us and we are also working to be able, in the near future, to tell what is inside each individual package and to inform consumers about the real environmental "weight" of what they are eating by analysing the data collected throughout the production phase and thanks to a complete product traceability system. This is because we believe in local consumption of agricultural produce.

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How was the 2020 season?

The year 2020 was our first real season. Our plants bore their first fruits and after a lot of hard work it was literally a party on the first harvest day. We were very satisfied with both the quality of the product and the quantity. We made a few mistakes, but they helped us to get through the next season, which is just around the corner.

Regarding the 2021 season, what are the prospects?

We feared disastrous consequences from the frost at the beginning of April when the buds were already swollen, but fortunately the temperatures in our orchards did not drop much and we did not record any significant damage. We expect a much higher production than last year and hope to be able to satisfy all our customers with a high quality product.

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