Eusebio Francese

Cascina Canta and the Maratelli rice

That of Eusebio Francese is a choral tale that spans almost a century of history. Born in 1925 in France and moved with his family, at the age of just four, to the rice-growing heart of the Po Valley, he talks about his relationship with agriculture marked by experimentation and an uncommon ingenuity. He begins by buying his first refrigerator, aimed at increasing the production of butter, borrowing money, a heresy in a farming world that considered debt ethically unacceptable.

Forerunner of the green revolution characterized by the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and aimed at developing an intensive agricultural model, he is the first to abandon these methods. He returns to agriculture free from harmful chemicals and to less productive rice varieties that are better from an organoleptic and nutritional point of view. He designs and builds his own rice dryer and stone mill for maize based on original ideas.

The most intense story is dedicated to one variety of rice above all, Maratelli rice, a fantastic cereal from every point of view, abandoned by the market for more productive varieties. Eusebio, after having obtained permission from the Maratelli family to recover the brand, devoted himself body and soul to giving life back to this variety that had disappeared from the market. As a true lover of ancient varieties, he looks beyond the yield per hectare, focusing on the organoleptic characteristics of each variety of rice.

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Rice stories

Rice stories

Food is a fundamental resource for man and his health, both through the supply of nutrients and the ability to embody traits of human culture that play a leading role in our well-being.

Over time, each territory has built original ways in which to relate to the fruits of its land, enriching them with rituals, symbolic meanings and culinary customs. Much of these relationships have been lost following the years of the economic boom, with the exodus from the countryside to urban centers, with the advent of agriculture for mass production and ultimately with the globalization of markets and the consequent impoverishment of the heritage of biodiversity and ethnodiversity.

The purpose of this archive is to collect evidence relating to the main rice production area in Europe, that is the Po Valley, and to investigate, through the analysis of textual sources and testimonies collected in the field, both what survives of this heritage, and the ways in which which has evolved and reached us, paying particular attention to the explicit and implicit links that bind food and health.

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