I grew up in the small medieval town of Pietramontecorvino in the southern region of Puglia, Italy. A five minute walk out of town and you would find yourself in the middle of farmers’ fields. As a child I hand-pick olives with my grandfather on his farm. My mother regularly made fresh orecchiette pasta from scratch using ingredients grown in the region, many of them grown by our neighbors. We were fortunate to live a mostly organic, local-food diet without having to think about it.
After moving to New York City in 2010, I realized how lucky I was to grow up in rural Italian food culture, so connected to my food. Here in New York, much of the Italian food available in grocery stores, such as pastas, sauces, and olive oils, is low quality and contains chemicals and artificial preservatives. As well, most of what is represented as “Italian cuisine” comes from the well-known regions of Tuscany, Campania, and Sicily, leaving many people unfamiliar with Puglia.
I founded Especially Puglia out of a desire to share my home region’s unique culinary tradition with the world. My family has been my inspiration. My father who you see next to me is a farmer. My grandfather was a farmer, and his father and grandfather before him. With Especially Puglia I’m working to keep alive the traditional farming practices at the heart of my culture.
In everything we do, we encourage customers to get to know their farmers and producers, learn how their food is grown, made, and packaged, and most importantly, to appreciate the gastronomic paradise of Puglia.
By emphasizing sustainable agricultural practices, supporting small-batch production and creating short, transparent supply chains, we guarantee you the freshest, most authentic flavors of the region.
Since we launched in 2014, we have been supplying customers with the finest extra virgin olive oils from independent, organic farms.
This year, we’re expanding by starting a FarmShare program that will deliver the bounty of Puglia season-by-season. Subscribers will receive a beautifully curated box of artisanal foods from the region made following Pugliese traditions. This winter’s FarmShare box will include preserved vegetables and tomatoes, and locally made pasta.
Next year, during Puglia’s busy harvest season, subscribers interested in becoming even more intimately involved with their food, will be invited to participate in our FarmStay program. You’ll meet the farmers, participate in the harvest, and experience the beauty of one of Italy’s hidden treasures.
Our first year has been a success, but demand is currently greater than we can meet, especially entering the holiday season. With a $10,000.00 loan from the Kiva Zip community we will be able to increase our inventory, expand the program to include more farmers and offer a greater diversity of products.
I currently pack all the FarmShare and the Adopt an Olive oil boxes on my own and this loan will also help me pay for packaging materials and hire the help I need.
Inventory — $6000.00
Packaging – $3000.00
Hiring — $1000.00