A family farm famous for its artichokes

A family farm of four generations, Lillo Azienda Agricola is now run by two brothers, Pasquale and Nicholas, who have taken its traditional methods of farming and used modern techniques to make it a successful, viable business.

The farm produces their own energy with solar panels and windmills to generate enough energy for the farm and to sell the excess to the local power company. A moderate size farm of 60 acres of olive groves, vineyards and grains; Lillo also grows the traditional Brindisi artichoke, which is quite different from the Roman artichoke, which is often exported.

There are three types of olive oil available which are produced with guidance from Slow Food and Gambero Rosso. On site it is possible to taste all of the local products as well as spend time in the courtyard for an aperitivo.

Experience olive oil and artichoke production

In a country that is struggling with the economy this is a really inspiring story of how a farm has innovated to succeed. Lillo Azienda Agricola is a family farm that has existed over four generations and is now run by brothers, Pasquale and Nicholas. Valuing tradition they continue to produce local food but have incorporated modern techniques to keep a competitive advantage.

As Pasquale took us out to the artichoke fields to learn about Brindisi artichokes and how they are different from Roman, he shared that it was important for them to research which produce made the most financial sense for the farm. They decided to continue with artichokes, olives, grains and wine. All of these products are traditional, but would also have a demand to keep the farm successful.

We had a great time in the field tasting fresh artichoke and learning about how they manage farming. While they are not certified organic, they employ organic methods as it is important to them. So is sustainable energy, and they’ve been able to produce enough of their own energy with solar panels to fuel the farm as well as selling the excess to the power company. This is just another way the brothers have learned to diversify revenue.

Finally we visited the olive groves which were less than 7 years old. With guidance from Slow Food and Gambero Rosso they have been creating three type of olive oil. Once back at the main building we tried artichoke beer, something new and innovative as well as brined artichokes and a number of spreads. Pasqual also taught us the proper way to test olive oil by warming the cup so you could taste the essence of the liquid. We liked it so much we bought one of the bottles, which was incredibly inexpensive considering what we would pay back in North America for someone of lesser quality.

We were inspired by Pasqual and his desire to continue to promote local food and show the community that family farming could be a successful venture with the right approach.