The road to success and recognition is often marked by complex challenges and bets on investment. This is the case in the industrial, business and agricultural field, and with regard to the human aspect. Fattorie San Lorenzo is a clear example of how a strategic vision (based on organic farming) can turn into a real success and a model, leading to being chosen by one of the most successful food multinationals in the world - McDonald’s - to support a national project (Fattore Futuro) to promote products, sustainability and innovation.
Ilaria Bussolotti is the owner of Fattorie San Lorenzo. Together with her sister Annalisa she has continued the work of their grandfather and then their father, who, in the 1990s, had the insight (forward-thinking and unique at the time) to turn the farm and all the land over to organic production. In 1991, the farm became one of the very first companies with Bioagricert (a Bologna-based control and certification body) organic certification.
The first question for you, is it a short meat chain or a closed supply chain?
We prefer to call it a closed supply chain. Our farm is one the few Italian companies that have an entire supply chain cycle. The meat processing cycle starts on our organically farmed land, from which we obtain the fodder required to feed our cattle. We are entirely self-sufficient in providing feed for our animals. Moreover, we have cattlesheds and pastures that ensure our animals have stall spaces that are twice as large as those of conventional breeding farms, thus ensuring excellent conditions of wellbeing for our beef cattle.
Then there is slaughtering.
The last step is carried out by an affiliated slaughter house, which has obtained permits to slaughter organically farmed cattle. Then we transfer the meat to our processing lab, where we directly sell the various cuts in their unaltered state or process them in specific ways, according to a process that has been consolidated over a 15-year period.
What are your products?
We only breed national crossbreeds, exclusively beef cattle, especially Bruna Sarda cows and Chevrolet or Limousin bulls. They are 100% Italian.
But why did you choose Sardinia?
It is a wild and barren land, a place where cattle live in the wild and are fed maternal milk and aromatic herbs.
Why do you use only locally sourced feed?
In this way, we can certify that our beef cattle are fed cereal crops and organic fodder free from chemical treatment, thus ensuring the quality of our products. Using locally sourced feed has another advantage, namely that of allowing consumers to really get to know the producer, find out about his plots of land and where his cattlesheds are located. In short, it is of special importance and uniqueness.
Is this process compatible with online sales?
It is unthinkable for those who produce organic products to sell online. Generally, this type of sale is not in line with our philosophy. We organise our own transport and only rely on our trusted couriers. If we were to rely on less specialised couriers, the meat would not arrive at its destination in the excellent state in which it left us. It would mean supplying a product contaminated by an intermediate step, such as transport, and we would not want that because we base our production on perfectionism.
A prestigious product and a regulated supply chain. How did you get to collaborate with McDonald’s?
The fast food chain launched the 'Fattore Futuro' project after deciding to embrace the new demands of its better-informed consumers. McDonald's chose 20 suppliers, all under 40 years old, who have decided to bring something unique to their company. We all stand out for one particular aspect. We have been organic farmers for three generations, others are biodynamic companies, whereas others focus on energy saving.
How does your collaboration with the fast food chain work?
It is very simple really. Our company provides live cattle, which are then selected and processed by their experts.
We can end with the most important question. What is your favourite cut of meat and cooking method?
This time, my answer is not very original, a Florentine T-bone steak. An evergreen choice!