Last week, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a large-scale program The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development, whose goal is to prepare a new generation of American farmers. Millions of dollars are planned to be spent on popularizing the farmer’s profession and providing all kinds of assistance to beginning agricultural workers.
The USDA does not hide the fact that there are a catastrophic shortage of farmers in the United States and the state will do everything possible so that people move into the outback of the country, buy ranches and large areas of land.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of farmers will decrease by 19% in the period from 2015 to 2022, which will lead to a food crisis and the rise in prices of products. Meanwhile, the average farm income in the country is $ 69,300. This is a very good amount, given that such businessmen in most cases live in their own homes (that is, they do not pay rent or mortgage).
“Agriculture is an area that will always generate income,” said labor market analyst Jeb Halley. – The population of the country is increasing. Food demand is growing. The cost of farms and ranches is at an all-time low. Moreover, for many people, the purchase of agricultural land is a way to start a new life, leave the bustling city and start working for yourself. ”
Currently, 73% of farmers work for themselves and do not depend on anyone. This profession is considered one of the most promising among immigrants, as nearly a third of visitors have experience in the fields. Another indisputable plus is education, or rather its absence. Many successful businessmen do not even have a high school diploma.
“Today, about 40,000 farms and ranches are sold on the American market at prices ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 10 million,” says Ernest D., an agricultural infrastructure sales specialist. – On average, a good farm consisting of a dwelling house, barns, a dozen other buildings and at least 20 acres of land costs about $ 130,000. It’s smaller than a tiny apartment in New York or Chicago. ”
According to Ernest, today, farms and ranches are bought by all kinds of people – from retirees who dream of living away from civilization to young workaholics.
“One of my clients were three Guatemalans who won the green cards,” says the specialist. “In just six months of washing up in Manhattan, they saved up $ 60,000 and bought an 18-acre farm in Kentucky.” A year later, these guys earned nearly half a million dollars on selling chicken. There are many similar stories. ”
According to Ernest’s words, success in the agricultural business depends solely on hard work. Many farmers get up at 5 am and work until 7 pm. They do not hire workers and do all the black work on their own.
How to understand the principles of the agricultural business? This is indicative of the story of New Yorker Will Jones, who, after a divorce from his wife and loss of work, firmly decided to start a new life.
He never worked in the outback and had a brilliant legal background. However, the “farmer romance” always fascinated him.
“I flew to Idaho and found a job on a potato farm the very first day,” Jones recalls. – A friendly businessman paid me $ 50 a day plus free food and lodging. I did not spread about my past, pretending to be an ordinary mechanic. For three months of work, I had before my eyes a complete picture of how the potato business works. I became a PhD in the potato industry. ”
After quitting his job, Jones, who, during his time as a lawyer, managed to save almost half a million dollars, bought a huge potato farm, hired workers and turned it into a profitable business. The experience gained during the work in the fields, he considers invaluable.
“Many people who dream of becoming farmers, imagine themselves sitting on a rocking chair in front of a huge field with a bottle of beer in their hands,” argue Jones. – They have no idea about agriculture, but they are sure that they will succeed. My advice to you is to work first at least three months on someone else’s farm. It is possible that you will hate this job. ”
Now about the most important thing. In modern US agriculture, there is an unusual trend. Beginning farmers are increasingly moving away from growing popular crops such as corn, soybeans and potatoes, preferring to produce something exotic and in small quantities.
Here it is worthwhile to dwell on the history of the Californian Frank Lee, who bought a tiny farm in Iowa. His plot worth $ 12 thousand was located in the midst of immense corn fields.
“Farmers laughed at me and said that on the cob, I would not even earn hundreds of dollars a month,” recalls Lee. – However, I was not going to grow corn. My task was to produce shiitake and oyster mushrooms, which a year after the purchase of land brought a million dollars in profits. ”
The most interesting thing that Lee had only theoretical experience of growing mushrooms. He read a dozen books, watched several educational films and talked a lot with mushroom pickers over the Internet.
Mushrooms are one of the most profitable farm products. For example, the oyster harvest is 25 pounds per year per square foot. If we consider that the retail price of a pound of these mushrooms, on average, is $ 7, then from a small space of 10 by 10 pounds you can earn $ 17,500.
“The most difficult thing is to settle all the legal formalities in the early stages of the farm,” says Lee. – In addition to the USDA, there are a number of federal, state and city authorities seeking to prohibit or issue a fine. You have to keep all inspectors under control in order to stay in business. ”
The only worker on Lee’s mushroom farm is the 25-year-old son Jacob. His duties include selling mushrooms over the Internet. He spins the product on social networks, sells large supermarkets and small shops.
“Knowledge of the Internet is a huge advantage for new farmers over hereditary farmers,” says Jacob. – Many businessmen living in the outback, do not use the Internet and do not even have a computer. They have regular customers and they are not interested in new ones. They even have no idea how to get going at the expense of Internet farming. ”
Jacob is absolutely right. If desired, the agricultural business can be promoted even on Facebook, where there are many groups of fans of different products – from mushrooms to beef steaks. In addition, the possibilities of modern mail are not limited. If desired, for example, fresh beef chops can be sent in a special container to Alaska or the Hawaiian Islands. In certain situations, it is even profitable.
Mushrooms belong to the list of goods that bring about $ 50 thousand annually from one acre of land. An acre, however, is practically worthless in the outback state. In Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma or Arkansas, such a microscopic farm with an old house can be purchased for $ 10 – $ 15 thousand.
So, besides mushrooms, the most profitable crops are:
Lavender. Used in the manufacture of soap, incense, bouquets and funeral wreaths. So, in California, there was a case when a former co-worker started a lavender business.
Spring Pussy Willows. These woody plants are popular with florists, as well as room designers. Some varieties of willow are so unpretentious that the crop can be harvested all year round.
Thuja. Rapidly gaining popularity dwarf tree, which is used for landscaping facades and lawns. One sprout costs about a dollar. After 24 months, the tree is ready for sale at a price of at least $ 10 – $ 15. Plus you can add a tidy sum for a plastic pot and delivery.
Bonsai (Bonsai Plants). One of the most scarce plants on the market. Outwardly, it looks like a full-fledged maple, reduced to half a meter in size. I am sure that every resident would like to have a similar beauty at home. The price of the simplest and inconspicuous bonsai is $ 30. The most beautiful specimens are sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Willow. Luxurious, beautiful and fast growing tree. Willow saplings are sold at $ 7 per pound and are in great demand by woodworking companies that supply boards to furniture manufacturers.
Elephant Garlic. Personally, I learned what “elephant garlic” was last week when I bought one head of this amazing product for $ 5 in an American supermarket. The taste is incomparable and is cut very conveniently. One slice is comparable to apricot. In good soil, the crop is 15 thousand pounds per acre. The profit is obvious.
Herbs. The cultivation of various herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes has increased over the last decade by 20%. A small jar of loose spices costs at least $ 3 in stores. If you grow herbs wisely and process them appropriately (dry, chop, mix), you can easily become a millionaire.
Bamboo. Chinese immigrants have long since established bamboo production in the south of the country, as the demand for this plant is constantly increasing. Bamboo is made furniture, furnishings, souvenirs and much more. If you offer a good price, then the wholesale buyer can be found quite easily.
Ginseng. One of the most useful products in modern agriculture. According to Chinese philosophy, it prolongs life and youth. You can sell ginseng in a variety of forms – raw, dried, pickled, salted, grated, etc. If you take to grow an organic and environmentally friendly product, then do not sell it for less than $ 50 per pound.
Finally, it should be said that in the United States there are more than a hundred farming organizations that in every possible way help beginning agricultural businesses.
Moreover, under pressure from the USDA, banks began to willingly give loans to buy a farm or ranch, as well as approve the business plans of novice but ambitious farmers.
In general, everything goes to returning America the former glory of a country that has a developed and independent market for its own food.Read More
The ranch was one of the most popular methods of agriculture, widely spread in the countries of the Western Hemisphere during the colonization of America by immigrants from the European continent.
In the USA and Canada, a ranch usually means any farm located in a rural area. One way or another, the main economic specialization of the ranch is cattle breeding, first of all cattle. This ranch is different from plantations, the main specialization of which is crop (bananas, sugar cane, cotton).
When free time was given out on the ranches of cowboys, they entertained themselves with all sorts of “funny” competitions: whose horse works better with a cow, who sits longer on a wild bull or a mustang, who will quickly lash a cow. Over time, these sports were separated, gained established rules, overgrown with traditions and features of training the horse and rider. From the middle of the 20th century, official cowboy competitions were held in the USA, and western sport appeared.
Life on the ranch has its advantages – far from the bustle of the city, animals and complete unity with nature.
Once a year, the rancher and his team lead their flocks to mountain pastures. Shepherd dogs grazing during a long transition of cows and bulls (bottom right), everything is as it should be.
Dangerous moment – the transfer of the herd across the road. One of the cowboys holds a warning yellow flag for approaching cars. Sometimes it’s easier to walk along the highway.
Such is the life of the real ranch and the cowboys.Read More
The countdown of winemaking in France should be carried out from the 7th century BC, when the Greeks, the Phocians, founded Massalia, the current Marseille. They taught the local people the art of cutting vines and making wine.
Decisive role in the development of viticulture in the territory of Gaul still played its conquest by the Romans in the I century BC. Yesterday’s barbarians were surprisingly capable students, and soon the glory of Gallic wine crossed the Alps. The merry produce of the Gauls began to compete successfully with the wines of Italy, and the emperor Domitian, really worried by this, in 96, even ordered to cut down half of all the vines in the Gallic provinces. It was the Gauls who first began to use wooden barrels for transporting wine. They turned out to be more convenient than the usual amphoras and had an important advantage: aging in barrels improved the quality of some wines.
If southern neighbors endowed Gaul with a vine, as a result of the northern Germanic tribes in the 5th century, the Gallic vineyards were almost completely destroyed. In the role of the savior of winemaking the church acted – after all, ino it was necessary for communion. In addition, in the middle of the century, monasteries were a kind of hotels – and what an inn without wine! It monasteries contributed to the spread of wine to the very limits of the Christian world.
Feudal aristocracy also became interested in winemaking. The lover of wine was, for example, Charlemagne, who owned vineyards in the territory of present-day Burgundy.
The merchants also tried to keep up with the sovereigns, so vineyards arose around almost every city. In addition, the antiseptic properties of wine, so important during times of devastating epidemics, became known: the water was disinfected by adding wine to it.
The most important event for winemaking in the Middle Ages was the displacement of one of its main areas to the Atlantic coast. In the XIII century, in the vicinity of Bordeaux, many vineyards appeared, from which famous “clarets” were delivered to London by sea (in England, the Bordeaux wines are still called this way). Every year, in the fall and at Easter, caravans of ships laden with wine barrels sailed from Bordeaux to sailing. The significance of this sea route was so great that in England a barrel of wine was accepted as a unit for measuring the capacity of ships, and it was from its French name – tonneau – the modern “ton” originated.
In the winemaking of another famous region, Burgundy, the Cistercian monks, who founded Sito Abbey there in 1098, played a special role.
Monks consistently engaged in breeding, deduced new methods of trimming. The dukes of Burgundy, who appropriated the title of “seniors of the best Christian wines”, also contributed a lot to improving the quality. Thus, in 1395, Philip the Bold ordered the uprooting of the ordinary “game” on its lands and replacing it with the “pinot” variety.
Sometimes political facts also influenced the development of winemaking. The transfer of the papal residence to Avignon in the early 14th century, in particular, led to an increase in the demand for local Rhone wines, and vineyards around the city began to expand rapidly.
Since the end of the XVII century, in various wine-growing areas, more and more attention is paid to the quality of products. It is to this period that the first texts refer to the meaning of the aging of wine, and in Europe countries connoisseurs of aged wines appear. Under the influence of their tastes, there is a real revolution in the field of production and consumption – wine becomes a “cult object”. And no longer a church one …
With the development of biochemistry, a scientific approach to winemaking. At the beginning of the 19th century, J.-A. Chaptal, a prominent statesman under Napoleon I and a remarkable chemist. One of the operations used by winemakers (adding sugar to the wort) in his honor is called captalization.
The prosperity of winemaking contributed to the free trade policy pursued by Napoleon III. The trade treaties signed by him in the years 1860-1865 opened the way for wines of France to all the markets of Europe.
It seemed that French winemaking had entered a golden age. However, an unexpected attack broke out – diseases of grapes imported from the New World. The decline in yields caused by oidium and anthracnose, made the winegrowers alarmed. However, the antidote was found quickly: the processing of vines with sulfur solutions helped to end these diseases. A more serious enemy was the phylloxera, which appeared in 1863: the search for an effective means of fighting it took almost 40 years.
But the victory over Phylloxera almost turned into a new misfortune for France! A large number of high-yielding vineyards appeared, and this led to overproduction and falling wine prices. Winemakers went bankrupt, and anarchy reigned in the industry: very often wines were falsified, traders in the pursuit of profit appropriated the loudest products with non-standard products …
The situation became intolerable: the prestige of France as the leading winemaking power was put into question. And in 1905, the foundations of legislation governing the manufacture of high-quality wines were laid. In particular, clear boundaries were established for their production areas. The first step in this direction was the narrowing of the permitted champagne production zone in 1910-1911. This caused discontent among winemakers, and the army had to be used to restore calm.
In 1919, a law was passed, according to which the courts made decisions recognizing “rights to denominations by origin for wines produced in accordance with established honest local customs.” After 8 years, the requirements for the quality of the wine were tightened: everything was taken into account – from the type of the soil and the grape variety to the alcohol content and the method of cutting the vines. Finally, in 1935, a law was passed on the introduction of a system of controlled items by origin (appellations). He still determines the process of wine production in the best farms in the country.Read More
The culture of Italy is inextricably linked with wine. Nature had to create this amazing peninsula in the form of a glass to more accurately reflect the essence of ancient Enotria – the country of wine, as ancient Greeks called Italy.
Wise Horace admonished: “Do not plant any other tree, Var, until you plant a vine.”
And his advice was followed everywhere, gentle hills, mountain slopes, plains illuminated by the sun, blown by fresh winds, covered with vineyards throughout the country.
In Italy, there are 20 regions and each of them produces its own wine, which is distinguished by its diversity and dissimilarity, has its own character, sometimes characterized by obstinacy, sometimes tenderness. And how could it be otherwise, if in Italy there are about 400 grape varieties, moreover, everywhere there is a different microclimate, the soils and winemakers love creative approach to wine making.
Wine-making in Italy goes back thousands of years. In the II. BC. The Phoenicians brought to Sicily the noble Vitis Vinifera vine, the “wine-bearing vine.” From here, grapes spread throughout Italy.
The ancient Romans introduced the consumption of wine in the rule, making the wine a real popular drink.
Already at that time there were well-known Italian grape varieties such as Sangiovese and Trebiano, which are still the most common.
Conquering new territories, building cities, the first thing the Romans did was to lay the castrum, pave the way to Rome and plant a vine. Well, do not carry the same wine in the new provinces of Rome! Moreover, the problem of storage and transportation of wine in the ancient world was very serious.
Ancient wine was very different from the modern drink. It was a syrupy, very sweet and strongly alcoholic drink, which was diluted with water and honey and spices were added to achieve a pleasant aroma.
Horace, a great lover of wine, wrote that wine removes anxiety and anxiety, helps to reveal hidden feelings. Seneca echoed him, saying that wine has a beneficial effect on a person, heals from disease and sorrow. But all mentioned moderation in the use of wine.
The ancient Romans, peeping at the idea of the conquered northern barbarians, began to use wooden barrels for storing and transporting wine. Experimentally found that oak barrels are best suited for this purpose due to tannins, in them not only wine is well preserved, but also acquires an additional flavor.
Also, the Romans began to use wooden presses, prototypes of modern. (Such wooden presses can still be found in Champagne).
But with the fall of the Roman Empire, everything changed, and viticulture was in deep crisis. And only in the Middle Ages, thanks to the monks, the situation changed. Wine began to be made in monasteries – wine for the mass, using techniques that were followed up to the XVIII century.
The next stage in the development of winemaking in Italy was the Renaissance, affecting not only culture and art, but also wine production, the center of which moved to Tuscany. In the XIV century. Chianti wine was born, and the Jesuit monks began to produce Nobile di Montepulciano for church services. In the XVIII century. The first classification of wines was carried out: the Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III Medici limited the territory of production of Chianti Classico.
But to talk about the Italian style is still very early, as Italy as a single country does not exist.
Then there was a pan-European misfortune – phylloxera, which destroyed many vineyards. Many French winemakers lost their jobs and began to travel to wine-producing countries, offering their services for little money. And, as you know, France at that time was an advanced country in the field of winemaking. So in the XIX century. There were iconic and iconic Italian wines Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino.
In the 1960s the Italian government made a classification of wines, according to which, Italian wines were divided into four categories:
– Vino da Tavola. Table wines. Simple wines, without specifying the place of vintage.
– IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). Table wines with an indication of the place of growth of grapes.
– DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). Wines of high category, appellations indicating the place where the grapes were grown and controlled by the state.
– DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). The top tier of Italian wines, which are not only controlled by territory and are guaranteed for quality.
Since August 2009, a new European classification has entered into force, involving only three levels:
– table wine
– IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta)
– DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta), which includes former DOC and DOCG.
But Italian law allows the use of old category names, so many manufacturers are in no hurry to switch to new designations.
Italy is now the largest producer and exporter of wine, giving us the opportunity to enjoy wines and travel on wine roads.Read More
Features of the organization of independent gastronomic tours
Italy is a diverse country, where each region has its own unique features and unique character. This applies to both nature and culture, manifesting itself in a variety of forms. Cooking here on top. Gastronomic habits and traditions in different parts of Italy are very variable: it is often enough to travel several tens of kilometers to get from one culinary world to another. For example, Venetian cuisine is not at all the same as the cuisine of the mainland Veneto, and the culinary traditions of Bologna are markedly different from the Florentine tastes. There is nothing to say about the differences between Lombardy and, say, Campania, Lazio and Apulia, Sicily and Sardinia. All of them are not so similar to each other, that it is time to ask a question, and is it not about different countries? Therefore, it is amusing to read on all sorts of tourist portals and in countless blogs that, say, such and such a city is the gastronomic or culinary capital of Italy. There are at least two dozen such capitals in Italy (by the number of regions), and in each case we will have sufficiently weighty reasons to justify the capital.
In general, the soil for culinary and gastronomic tourism in Italy is very rich, and therefore it is not at all surprising that gastronomic tours in Italy are very popular among travelers from all over the world. In Russia, the corresponding programs are offered by a number of travel companies (interesting tours can be found, in particular, from Simpletravel; see here). It is only necessary to take into account that the pleasure is, as a rule, not cheap. However, if you are not very well oriented in the field of cooking or do not burn with the desire to think through every little thing, then a gastronomic tour organized by professionals is perhaps the ideal option.
However, here we are more interested in the possibilities of organizing independent travels. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
How to organize a gastronomic tour of Italy alone
In general, organizing an independent journey in Italy is quite simple. Buy air and railway tickets, book hotels, get a visa – is a simple matter. The most difficult thing in the case of gastroturas, in our opinion, is to draw up a travel program. What and where to try, what places (restaurants, wineries, agricultural enterprises, etc.) to visit, when it is better to go to one or another region of Italy to fully appreciate the advantages of local cuisine – these and many other questions will require you to be careful preparation.
However, here, for lack of time or desire to search for all the necessary information on your own, again, you can resort to outside help. To this end, it makes sense to look at sites like www.tripster.ru, where, among other things, there are excursions of a gastronomic orientation. For example, here you can find a good selection of culinary and gastronomic excursions in Rome and its environs, here is a tempting tour of Venice and its hidden back streets, and here is an interesting one-day tour of Apulia. Similar tours and walks can be booked in Florence, Naples, Verona, Turin and many other Italian cities.
But you can do otherwise. If you are interested in cooking as such, then surely you have at least some idea of what attracts your attention. From this and push off. When planning a trip, refer to the tourist forums, blogs and reviews of tourists, the benefit is that in the case of Italy there is no shortage of information. As a result, you can make an approximate list of dishes, wines and products that you definitely need to try in a particular region. And then go to the free swimming – travel around the country, wander through the cities, alternating sessions of contemplation of the beautiful with a visit to the points of the public catering that you like along the way, and try, try, try. With this approach, of course, not only gastronomic discoveries, but also disappointments await you. But, comparing what and how they cook in different establishments, you can form your own idea of Italian cuisine and its regional specialties. In the end, nothing is more valuable than personal experience. At the same time, it is not at all necessary to ignore the experience of other people. No one has canceled Google Maps and Tripadvisor – on these resources there are a lot of reviews about various institutions in all of the more or less noticeable cities in Italy. And, of course, before going to a particular restaurant, pizzeria, trattoria, etc., it is worth a while to read what is written about them.
In addition, do not forget about the existence of books and travel guides. Of them, too, can draw a lot of useful information. In Russian there is, for example, the book by Elena Kostyukovich “Food. Italian happiness “, which can be used as a gastronomic guide to Italy. (Essentially the same book, only in a slightly different layout, was previously published in two parts – “A Taste of Italian Happiness” and “Roads of Italian Happiness.”) There is a book by Andrei Bilzho “My Venice” – again, almost ready-made guidebook institutions of Venice. There is another literature.
Finally, you can focus on numerous gastronomic fairs and festivals. For example:
- Florence Pitti Taste fair is held annually (in March);
- in Perugia – Eurochocolate fair (in October);
- in Alba – the Tartufo Bianco d’Alba fair dedicated to white truffle (October-November);
- in Ladispoli, near Rome, – Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco in honor of the artichokes (in late March – early April);
- in Montefiascone, also near Rome, – the wine festival Fiera del Vino (in early August) …
The list can be continued indefinitely. By and large, any cultural event in Italy, be it a city carnival or a celebration in honor of some saint, is accompanied by a fair of traditional local products: somewhere there is more, somewhere less, but it is always interesting and tasty.
We should also mention the organization Slow Food (see www.slowfood.com) and, in particular, the annual gastronomic feast Terra Madre Salone del Gusto held in Turin (in September). The organization’s website regularly publishes information about other events.
Also pay attention to the network of Eataly gastronomic centers (see www.eataly.net), conceptually combining a market where you can buy high-quality Italian products (cheeses, cold meats, seafood, etc., etc.), and a restaurant where you can taste dishes made from these highest quality products (which is remarkable, prices are not exorbitant). The geography of their presence is extensive and has long gone beyond the Apennine Peninsula. If we talk about Italy, the offices of Eataly are represented in the same Turin, as well as in Milan, Bologna (here in November 2017 a huge agro-gastronomic park FICO was opened – see www.eatalyworld.it), Florence, Rome, Bari and some other cities.Read More
In recent years, more and more residents of stone megalopolises tend to go to nature, to relax from the hustle and bustle. In Italy, there is a great way to accomplish this task – to go to the countryside on an agricultural farm. This type of recreation is called agritourism, and it is in Italy that it is extremely popular, there are a huge number of available farms in each region.
According to the legislation, this kind of recreation has existed since the mid 70s, and special conditions are even prescribed in the laws. According to these conditions, farmers are obliged to accept tourists. Initially, everything was very strict with this: the farmer undertook to prepare food, at least 50% consisting of products grown on his farm, to conduct tastings of his own or local wines, to organize sports and didactic activities for children (teach them to milk cows, etc. ., that is, to live a full farm life). There are also certain requirements for guest accommodation, which must be as authentic as possible.
Now the concept has changed a bit, and along with the growing demand for this type of recreation, more and more “quasi-agritourism” began to appear, with swimming pools, spa areas, massages and other things. They feed there as in a restaurant (thawed food), but the air is basically the same. The real life in agro-tourism is quite simple: stone modestly furnished houses, wooden tables in the dining room and its own, cooked food by the owners.
If you want to do agritourism, you must live on a real farm, in an authentic place.
Agritourism is not necessarily all located in the mountains, but often. Firstly, there is cheaper and more suitable for agricultural needs the land, and secondly, it is easier to embody the idea of privacy. In general, there are no agritourism right on the beach, of course. But in compensation you can enjoy the beautiful and spectacular views of the mountains.
In addition to world-famous attractions, beautiful beaches and traditional cuisine, Italy is also famous for agritourism. In the cultivation of this type of recreation, Italy, along with France and Spain, is considered one of the recognized world leaders. And what other visiting format will allow to penetrate the Italian way of life and traditions better than a holiday in the countryside?
Throughout the year, over 10,000 Italian villas, farms and estates are ready to host agrotourists. Here you can ride horses, stroll through the fragrant flower fields, visit the vineyards and, of course, enjoy plenty of gastronomic delights.
The history of agrotourism in Italy
According to one of the local legends, a foreigner set up agrotourism in Italy, who went to live on an Italian farm in order to diversify his too calm and full life. The case was in the post-war period, when the Italian villages impoverished as a result of the Second World War were just beginning to “come to their senses”. The farmer who sheltered the eccentric foreigner was satisfied, having received a good reward for his labors. Stories about excellent rest, wonderful natural food and Italian hospitality quickly spread out of the country, and soon they began to travel to Italy not only for its rich architecture and history, but also to taste all the delights of the colorful village life.
Entrepreneurial Italians, seeing in this niche market, began to equip their homes and farms, to create all the conditions for a decent holiday visitors. By the 70s of the 20th century, agricols began to appear in the country — existing farms that, in addition to producing wine, olive oil and other products, provided rooms for tourists in their homes.
Since 1985, agritourism in Italy has received official recognition and government support. Some projects even provide special grants. In the countries of the European Union there is a decree, which clearly states the rules of doing business for farmers who want to provide their farms for agritourism. To get permission to engage in this type of business, Italian farmers are required to complete a special course, designed for a hundred hours. In the course of the training program, farmers acquire knowledge of the basics of law, management, accounting, sanitary and hygiene standards, etc.
Today, agritourism in Italy is an already formed market. Every year, about two million people come to farms and farmsteads, which gives a considerable profit to the country’s budget.
The most popular regions of Italy for agritourism
Agritourism in Tuscany
The first position in the list of the most popular regions for agro-tourism in Italy is rightfully occupied by Tuscany, where a quarter of the country’s agricultural chips are concentrated. Tuscany is a paradise for travelers. Her villages and small towns are saturated with the spirit of the Middle Ages.
In addition to the picturesque nature, olive groves and wine plantations, agrotourists have a great opportunity not only to taste the dishes for which Tuscany is famous, but also to learn how to cook them under the guidance of Tuscan hostesses.
In the Tuscan cuisine are widely used fish, flour and sausages, and, of course, a variety of vegetables. However, an essential element of Tuscan cuisine is olive oil, which is considered one of the best in the country, and also Florentine steak, which is made from bull meat marinated in olive oil with spices. In addition, Tuscany is also the land of winemakers. Therefore, agritourism in Tuscany without wine is simply unthinkable.
Agritourism in Trentino – South Tyrol
Together with Tuscany in popularity in agritourism there is another equally famous resort –Trentino (South Tyrol). The key to the popularity of this province is the fact that Trentino is one of the largest European centers of mountain and ski tourism with a well-developed infrastructure. Agritourism in Trentino is an explosive mixture of picturesque landscapes, mild climate, mountain “crystal air”, sights, wine and, of course, excellent Italian cuisine.
If you go to Trentino – be sure to try the local pizzocheri paste, made from buckwheat flour with potatoes and savoy cabbage, generously seasoned with cheeses and herbs. Beef tenderloin called tagliata, pickled in spices and grilled, and also dried bresaola beef (Italian bresaola), cut into transparent slices.
Agritourism in Piedmont
The region in the north of Italy has glorified the country for its gastronomic delights. In addition to fine wines, cheeses and other gastronomy, it is in Piedmont that the world famous white truffles grow. Agrotourists who decide to go to this region of Italy will have the opportunity to stay in the agrikols of the legendary “hunters” for delicious mushrooms. If you’re lucky, you can even take part in the search for truffles or visit the famous truffle festival. Fans of “mushroom hunting” should be headed to the province of Lange, where, near the town of Alba, these agro-tourist estates are located.
Agritourism in Piedmont is also a wine tour, since winemaking has a special place in Piedmont. It is Piedmont that is the birthplace of the famous Asti Slumante wine and the wonderful sparkling Prosseco. While serving local Barolo wine, in addition to bread, butter, vegetables and several types of sausages, the guest is sure to be treated with white truffles.
And Piedmont is one of the largest producers of cheese. Indeed, in addition to the recipe, in the production of Italian cheese, one of the key roles is played by the vegetation that feeds animals, and the climate in which cheese matures. Only in this region can you try the real cheeses of Castelmagno, Gongorzola, GranaPadano, Taleggio, Robiola, Bra and TomaPiemontese.
In addition, agri-tourism in Piedmont is an opportunity to swim in hot springs, which the region abounds in. The thermal spas of Piedmont such as the Terme di Acqui, Terme di Agliano and Terme di Bognanco are famous for their sources throughout Italy.Read More
Agriculture is an economic and culturally important part of life in Australia. Many Australians are directly and indirectly associated with agriculture. Even for those Australians who are not connected with agriculture, there will still be links with the country’s rural and agrarian-economic history.
A brief overview of the history of agriculture in Australia
In the first few decades after European settlers arrived in Australia, farms developed mainly around early settlements. These farms mainly raised grain crops (wheat) and raised sheep, which were originally brought from Europe.
Agriculture in the 1800s
The government encouraged research and development of new plots of land and provided material support to this cause, and in the 1800s, farmers and settlers gradually began to move inland and occupy vast areas for grazing and growing crops.
The creation of railways from the 1850s greatly facilitated the delivery of products from remote farms to the markets of large cities.
Huge areas, previously overgrown with forests and shrubs have now been cleared for pasture along the coast of Australia and inland.
The dry climate and poor soil of Australia first presented problems for farmers, but they quickly solved this problem, the solution was the production of high-quality wool. Wool has become the cornerstone of Australian agriculture, and Australia, as is often said, “went on the back of the sheep” during the first years of its economic development.
Still, the key problems for farmers in most parts of Australia were drought and the issue of irrigation. After the construction of irrigation systems, new agricultural methods became viable.
In 1900, wool and wheat still dominated Australian agriculture, but cattle rearing was becoming more widespread, helped by a rich market for grains, fruits, and vegetable crops.
First, most of the crops were grown in the Eastern States, but then, Western Australia became the main grain producer by 1905. The production of sugar beet in Queensland and the cultivation of grapes in the Riverline region of New South Wales were also well developed by the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1901, the population census revealed that approximately fourteen percent of the total Australian population is employed in agricultural industries.
Enemies of australian farmers
During World War I, rabbits became the main enemy of Australian farmers. Rabbits spread north from Geelong in Victoria, and seriously reduced the productivity of Australian agriculture. Rabbit control is still the main problem for farmers and the government today.
Australia’s agriculture in the 20th century
In the 20th century, Australian agricultural production grew rapidly and produced a lot of products, which fully satisfied and even exceeded the needs of the Australian population. This increase in production has forced Australia to become one of the top food exporters in the world.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Australian government provided assistance to Vermer and primary producers in order to communicate production, employment and exports. The government also increased duties on certain goods to discourage imports. Despite the enormous damage from the Great Depression and the two world wars, Australian agriculture continued to grow steadily in the first half of the 20th century.
The importance of agriculture in the Australian economy declined by the second half of the 20th century. Only three percent of the country’s population is now hired in agriculture. Government aid was reduced, and wool became a less important and valuable commodity. Farmers were forced to innovate and diversify in order to survive.
Agriculture in Australia today
The Economic Importance of Agriculture in Australia
Agriculture is an important sector of the Australian economy that generates up to $ 39 billion in profits every year.
Australia’s agriculture employs approximately 370,000 people.
Although agricultural production is not as extensive as at its peak in the mid-1970s, farms still occupy about sixty percent of all land in Australia.
Farms in Australia have traditionally been family-owned firms that have passed from generation to generation. However, since the 1950s, international economic factors and changes in agriculture have led to the expediency of organizing large farms, which are more economically viable than small ones. The number of families engaged in farming has decreased, but the average farm size has increased.
Many modern farmers report that they are struggling to make a profit, and some of them have to admit that additional work from the farm adds income to the family budget.
Types of agriculture in Australia
Different types of agriculture are mainly concentrated in the areas that satisfy them best, depending on irrigation suitability and climatic conditions.
Livestock, mainly sheep and cattle, occupy most of the land in Australian agriculture. Sheep are found in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.
Approximately ninety percent of all cattle are used to produce beef. Queensland and New South Wales are the main beef cattle producers in Australia.
Most dairy cattle nakoditsya in the southern regions of the country, mainly in Victoria.
Wheat and other grains are equally distributed in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
The main harvest of sugar beet falls on Queensland and New South Wales.
Fruit cultivation is common in all Australian territories, as well as the cultivation of vegetables.
Drought and other effects of the Australian climate
One of Australia’s most famous poems, called “My Country,” by Dorothea McKellaire, contains the lines “land … rains, floods and droughts …” For many people, these are warnings about the difficulties that farmers face in Australia.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world; only Antarctica has less precipitation. Large tracts of land everywhere in inland Australia are prone to drought, which can last for several years.
Irrigation is a very important factor in creating agriculture that is viable in the interior of the mainland. Extensive irrigation systems, such as the Snow Scheme, have been established so that water is brought into the country for agriculture. Water is also obtained by drilling wells and storing them in dams on farms.
Australian soils need fertilizer containing superfootvat and nitrogen. Farmers also face difficulties in dealing with soil erosion and salinity.
Many cities and settlements in Australia have annual agricultural exhibitions. In these events, exhibitors representing rural producers, organizations and companies introduce people living in cities to rural life and agricultural production.
The Sydney Royal Esther Shoo is the largest annual agricultural exhibition in Australia, as well as The Royal Melbourne Shoo, are the most anticipated exhibitions of Victoria. Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to each of these exhibitions.
Sustained popularity of agricultural exhibitions –
This is evidence that farms and rural societies continue to play a huge role in the life of Australia.
The importance of technology in Australian agriculture
Technology is having a huge impact on agriculture in Australia. Scientific and technological progress has helped make Australian farmers among the world’s leaders in efficiency and productivity.
During the 1800s, agriculture mainly used manual labor, along with horses and oxen. Today, a strong and technologically advanced machine replaced most of the labor of man and the labor of animals in agriculture.
Multi-Australian inventions and technological advances helped expand agriculture in the early twentieth century. Inventions such as the “jumping over the stump” plow, the combine and the “bush mower” helped farmers make the most of the wild Australian environment.
Irrigation advances, such as the discovery and use of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin and the development of irrigation, have helped provide much-needed water to Australian farmers.
The effectiveness of Australian agriculture has also improved with scientific discoveries in genetics, irrigation and disease control. Drought-resistant varieties of cereal crops were developed. The animals had improved the quality of their meat and wool.
The discovery and introduction of new technologies remains vital for farmers to produce products of excellent quality at a low price. Farmers use satellite technology, discovering more efficient methods of delivering water to where it is needed.
Also in recent years, the use of information technology on farms has been increased. Now most farms have computers and Internet access.
Life on an Australian farm in the 21st century
Despite all the changes over the centuries in Australian agricultural production, today there is still a strong sense of tradition and pride among Australian farmers. While technological and economic factors have a huge impact on rural existence, many of the old-fashioned values of agriculture are as strong as ever for Australian farming families.
Allan Gardy has been engaged in agriculture in the Wimmer area of West Victoria since the 1950s. He and his wife, Pat, grow wheat and maintain a farm called the man, which Allan’s father handed to him. They also grow other crops, such as lentils, which are well suited to the dry conditions of Wimmera agriculture.
Like Australian farmers for decades in front of them, the Gardie family protects nature. Often the only thing separating a good year from a bad year is the good amount of precipitation at the right time.
While some of the tools and methods of agriculture have changed, others have remained the same as before. Allan is as proud of his working dogs as his high-tech farming equipment. An Australian farm dog is a tradition that has remained in modern agriculture because it is still a very effective way to guard and graze sheep and cattle. Working dogs are highly valued, but unlike most pet dogs, they are rarely allowed to stay in the house.
Like many other Australian farmers, the Hardy family is working hard. During harvest, work can continue even at night, using the lighting device on combines.
Despite hardship and hard work, the Gardy family is an active member of the farming community. They are always ready for communication when neighbors, family and friends drop in on them. They regularly play and chat at a local golf club. When Allan celebrated his 70th birthday at a local club, there were a lot of friends and their family members.
As in most farm families in Australia, when the children of Pat and Allan grew up, they began to leave the parents’ farm in the cities to find a prestigious and well-paid job. But their youngest son, Paul, has returned to the farm and is working with Allan now, successfully studying the art of agriculture. Pat and Allan are proud that their son will continue their family tradition of farm management.Read More