Two young agricultural entrepreneurs decided to invest in a project aimed to enhance and restore de white onion of Castrovillari, the undisputed queen of the terroir.

Two people, four hands dirty with soil and sweat implementing a job which is deeply rooted in tradition and innovative at the same time. This story begins in Castrovillari, Northern Calabria, in the shadow of Pollino, Italy’s largest national park. Here in Giardini’s countryside (an area characterized by the presence of some natural water springs) the white onion, a very sweet local ecotype, was the undisputed star of the terroir. The production capacity of this white onion was able to satisfy the demand of the surroundings towns of the province of Cosenza (Terranova da Sibari, Spezzano Albanese, Villapiana, Cerchiara, Francavilla Marittima, Mormanno) and of the near Basilicata (Rotonda, San Severino Lucano, Terranova di Pollino).

The modern vision of the tradition

Francesco Trapani (owner of the agricultural company “Cavolimiei”) and Benedetto di Vasto (owner of the “Di Vasto” company) decided to retrace this successful agricultural path in a modern way, but always keeping with this ecotype tradition in order to enhance the quality of the production. According to this project, the white onion aims to become a sort of “food monopoly” which is able to face the new markets’ challenges, positioning itself in the niche of the excellent Mediterranean products. Starting from the experience and the stories of the farmers, which represent the historical memory of the alimentary identity of Castrovillari, the two young entrepreneurs started a very successful production.

Planting and harvesting times

Traditionally, the onion seed is harvested the 16th of July, the Madonna del Carmelo day. The seedbed (the pruvinu) is prepared as usual no later than the 5th of August, strictly when the moon is waning, in order to get the plants ready for transplanting in early November. The first onions are harvested in late February and the harvesting continues until June, while mature onions are harvested in July.

This specific kind of large-sized onion is characterized by an evident sweetness and by unique organoleptic qualities. Among its qualities, we can notice that this white onion is extremely versatile: indeed, the special combination of its features allows this product to be also ideal for jams and preserves. Furthermore, its golden to rose color contributes to make this product very aesthetically pleasant. While respecting the territory, its production aims to achievean organic sustainability.

The European Union quality indicators

The current project aims to protect this onion by giving it a European Union quality indicator (PGI or PDO) to further enhance this product.
Indeed, obtaining this quality indicator could be a huge opportunity for the white onion to stay grounded to the local dimension and to develop an agricultural economy with low environmental impact (in an geographical area which is highly devoted to this kind of production) while enhancing the protection of the Calabrian biodiversity.


Francesco Trapani | Farm Cavoli miei

Benedetto Di Vasto | Farm Di Vasto