Vincenzo Di Natale, administrator of Poggio del Cardo, chose soilless cultivation to safeguard against soil-borne pathogens that can impact yields. This decision, made in collaboration with his father Silvio, blends Sicilian tradition with technological innovation in their tomato cultivation practices.
Situated between Pachino and Portopalo in southeastern Sicily, the family-run business cultivates its distinctive tomato varieties under the “Sapìto – Il Gusto del Pomodoro” brand. Their selection primarily comprises beefsteak, plum, and cherry tomatoes. Vincenzo Di Natale emphasizes the importance of specialization for maintaining competitiveness: “We focus on achieving superior flavor, shape, and extended shelf life, as these are the key attributes demanded by our commercial partners.”
“We rely on several crucial elements in our practices: foremost, irrigation with brackish water, which induces a carefully balanced stress to enhance flavor. Additionally, soilless cultivation aids in preventing soil-borne diseases. Lastly, we utilize beneficial insects for natural pollination, enabling us to operate in a more sustainable manner.”
“Our greenhouses are referred to as ‘cold’ because they don’t require heating or artificial lighting to create optimal growth conditions, resulting in a significantly low carbon footprint. These attributes are highly valued by stakeholders who prioritize health and sustainability in their policies.”
The company cultivates its produce across five hectares and supplies major markets in northern Italy, such as Milan, Turin, Bologna, Fondi, and beyond. Additionally, through a dedicated partner, a significant portion is exported to Switzerland and Great Britain. With certifications including GlobalGAP, GRASP, and Nickel Free, the company offers added value by addressing the needs of individuals (approximately 5% of the global population) with allergies.