An educational farmhouse, a winery, a very peculiar camping

This farm was started in 1950 when Domenico Melillo left Bari to cultivate grapes in Villa Castelli. Over the years they started producing wine and olive oil. Today the company is managed by the grandchildren, Giampiero, Maurice and Rosa who have expanded the farm’s offerings to include wheat, honey, asparagus, cherries and other produce.

In the winery they produce several types of red and white varieties of wine. The grapes are all hand picked and while the farm is not certified organic, they employ organic farming techniques. In addition to producing fruit and vegetables, Azienda Agricola Melillo is an educational farm, with an emphasis on the farm to table approach and learning by doing so visitors can visit here during the summer to take cooking classes, such as how to make pasta.

For those that would like to visit this 80-hectare farm for a longer time, it is possible to camp on site with a building for campers complete with a bathroom and shower facilities to have the comforts of home. As well the farm is completing a Bed and Breakfast so that visitors can choose which level of accommodation they would like.

Experience Pettole making with Nonna

This is a great example of a multi-generational family farm. While two brothers and one sister now run the agriturismo, they continue to live with their parents who inherited the farm from their grandfather who moved here to cultivate a vineyard.

Although it was winter when we arrived we took a walk into the farm fields to see the style of vines, wheat fields and asparagus patch that was dormant. The land immediately around the main building is lined with olive trees that are hundreds of years old and we learned that as olive trees age so does the flavor of the oil although an expert would not be able to judge the age of an olive grove by the taste of the oil as taste is also affected by climate when the olives are harvested, state of maturation and the technique to pick the olives.

We headed back to the kitchen so that Nonna could teach us how to make a very traditional dish – pettoles, which are little pieces of deep fried dough. First we made the original pettole and then she showed us how to make them with olives, cauliflower and anchovies. They were all delicious but cauliflower had such a great taste, it was definitely the group favourite.

As we stood around the kitchen table eating the delicious pettoles our guests brought out different varietals of their wine but Nonna kept cooking as she did not think we had enough to eat. Soon after fresh pasta with chickpeas in a tomato sauce were on the table and everyone was encouraged to mangia! It was a great cooking class, not only did we learn how to make pettoles but we left with full stomachs ready for our next adventure.