The history of Società Agricola Campotenese (Campotenese Agriculture Company) is tightly interwoven with the history and legend of the Pollino National Park: natural paths cross those of science, myths meet traditions, landscape welcomes literature.
Untrodden paths, surrounded by silence, lead the visitor to experience an extraordinary adventure made possible by a unique scenario: wild nature, bright colours and intense Mediterranean fragrances.
The magnificent ring of mountains which surrounds the Campotenese upland is an inspiration and a symbol for the strong sense of belonging of the people who live here.
It can also be seen as a symbol for social cohesion, a basic value which should be conveyed to the youth to guarantee the growth and progress of an area. The establishment of an agricultural company is always closely connected to the story of the place where it is established, and the place itself determines its development.
This is what happened with our Company: its history follows closely the history of Pollino National Park and its evolution, in a relationship of mutual growth. The mythical charm of this place, with its unique characteristics, clearly explains why and how an important and innovative project such as our Company was born here and not elsewhere.
Campotenese Agriculture Company evolved in 2014 from Cooperativa Agricola Campotenese (Campotenese Agricultural Cooperative), an extraordinary project born in 1976 and destined to change completely and forever the future of this place. In Calabria, at the beginning of the 1970s, the concept and practice of cooperation was almost a utopia: what in Northern Italy was already an established – even if innovative – model for business, in Southern Italy was still almost completely unknown. The agricultural situation was characterized by individual farms, mostly family businesses, which provided marginal income, burdened by production costs borne by the individual farmer; this model could no longer foster the economic development of the area.
In 1973, in the Campotenese upland, a group of young farmers understood the need for a change in order to ensure a better future for their families, the area and its inhabitants; they made a courageous choice and decided to join forces. Those were very difficult years due to the economic crisis of the 1970s, and the choice to cooperate turned out to be the only way to come out of a seemingly endless situation.
Campotenese Agricultural Cooperative was established in 1976 in order to breed cattle in the most efficient and modern way. Modern zootechnics uses new instruments to run cattlesheds and needs especially qualified employees: an agricultural company has to update its systems if it wants to be successful.
The following years were hard and there were many discouraging moments, but they did not stop our young farmers, full of enthusiasm and determination: they were aware that they were shaping their future, and this gave them the energy they needed to overcome difficulties and take on new challenges.The Cooperative developed and at the beginning of the Nineties became one of the leading zootechnical companies in Calabria.
In 1998 the first creamery was inaugurated and the Company began to transform the milk it produces. The creamery is equipped with cutting-edge machinery run by especially trained employees; as a result, the products are of the utmost quality and absolutely safe. After a few years, the first pigsty was built and, immediately afterwards, the company outlet, to sell the excellent cheeses and cured meats manufactured following the traditional recipes.