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Florence Box: Azienda Agricola Mario Agostinelli

“From the land to the table” proudly announces Mario Agostinelli, owner of the company of the same name, which in Valdarno cultivates and grows about 460,000 bean plants, and not just any kind. It is the zolfino bean, a legume of great value, with a particular color which tends to pale yellow. Mario points out that it is extremely easy to recognize when cooking the authentic zolfino bean: in fact in the pot the water brought to boiling is transparent and has a sweetish taste. We arrive in this expanse of small plants as far as the eye can see, a vast vegetable garden that immediately makes us think how much tireless effort and long experience are needed to obtain such a result. The soil is perfectly plowed, the plants are in optimal conditions for their growth, the small beans that are sprouting appear already in good health.

The history of the zolfino bean goes back many years, when a column of the allied army stationed in Valdarno during the Italian campaign consumed this product purchased in Argentina, where according to some authoritative sources it was brought by some Italian migrants, who cultivated it in the vast lands that the new world offered. These beans with their characteristic small and round shape subsequently risked to disappear from the panorama of the Italian agribusiness until, at the end of the eighties, its production was revalued, rediscovering its creamy consistency, its high digestibility and its exceptional cooking properties. The passion of its “guardian”, of those who take care of it just like a son, as in the case of Mario, does the rest. Indeed, the heritage of these lands lies in the cleanliness of the field and its maintenance, a pleasure for the eye and, as Mario reiterates, a pleasure at the table.