The Belfiore family has been farming since the 1800s. Their farm, the Masseria Mirogallo, sits on 70 acres of land in the province of Matera in the southern portion of Basilicata (a district known in ancient times as Lucania).
Matera is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world—much older than Rome. The region, which encompasses “the arch of the Italian boot," was first settled during Paleolithic times, and the fertile, mountainous valleys were a very important food source area during Greek and Roman times.
Basilicata is little known to most, but Matera is one of Italy’s main tourist destinations because it is home to the unique Sassi di Matera, a prehistoric settlement of stone houses built directly into caves. Today, the city is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
The very fertile valley surrounding Matera is dotted with family farms, locally known as masserie. Since the 1800s, one of the largest farms has been owned by the Belfiore family, who specialize in the cultivation and preservation of heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables from which they handmake very high quality pantry products.
The Belfiore brothers are quick to point out that most everything they put in a jar comes from their fields, and that the only preservatives that they use are vinegar, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Every summer, the Mirogallo farm is bustling with many farm workers hand-harvesting perfectly sun-ripe fruit and vegetables. Inside the old white washed farm building, a state-of-the-art kitchen transforms each day's bounty into a wide array of jars of all color and sizes.