What happens in our pastures
Respect for the earth, respect for animals and respect for food. The complex universe of Podere Il Casale could be summed up in this sentence.
Podere il Casale is a farm located in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, where Ulysses and Sandra have decided to live since 1991. Inside our farm everything revolves around the preservation of nature and the creation of a circular and sustainable economy.
Today we will find out what happens in our pastures, where our goats and sheep graze during the year, making the raw milk cheeses of our dairy a truly unique reality.
The Holistic Pastures: let’s clarify
Holistic Grazing is a sustainable agricultural practice which consists in grazing sheep and cows on specific land within the Val d’Orcia, in Tuscany. This type of agricultural practice aims to have a greater quantity of fresh grass for our animals, to improve the health of sheep and cows, but also to improve the quality of the pasture and the surrounding land, promoting biodiversity and the environment. The animals are linked and dependent on the surrounding environment and vice versa, so we have chosen to opt for the holistic rotation of the pastures.
The holistic rotation of pastures provides for the rationed grazing of the flocks on different parcels (small parcels of land) in order to avoid grazing depletion and favor the regeneration of the land, provided that they are managed in such a way as to imitate the “grazing natural”. It is in fact characterized by large herds of animals that move over large areas while trying to escape from predators. To simulate this function in holistic grazing, livestock are divided into large herds and often moved between different areas.
In practice, flocks of sheep or cows are grazed on an area of land for a specific period of time, usually from a few weeks to a month, depending on the conditions of the land and pasture. After this period, the flock is moved to a new area of land, leaving the previous one dormant. In fact, during the grazing of our herds we make sure that the animals do not graze too much and do not deplete the plant reserves that allow the plants to grow back. Thanks to the mobile fences we can divide the animals on the plots equally to allow for a correct rotation.
Land care and animal care
This grazing rotation allows the soil to regenerate and recharge with essential nutrients, reducing the need to use chemical fertilizers or other artificial products. This helps to maintain animal health, improve the quality of the final product and preserve the surrounding environment.
The practice of rationed grazing on various parcels also helps to avoid overcrowding of animals on a particular area of land, thus reducing the risk of disease and improving animal health. The care and attention for the animals raised, in fact, is a fundamental part of the practice of Holistic Pastures.
In addition to having ecological advantages, holistic grazing increases biomass production and prevents the risk of soil erosion. Furthermore, the organic life of the subsoil, thanks to the presence of excrement on the soil, is enriched with insects and larvae which give fertility to the soil, which can thus store a greater quantity of carbon dioxide in a virtuous circle for the environment.
Here at Podere il Casale we pay great attention to the surrounding environment, in fact we produce everything you find in the dishes of our restaurant. It’s called the Farm to Table philosophy (literally from farm to table) which allows us to bring to the table only seasonal, natural products that reach perfect maturity, without the aid of chemical pesticides harmful to humans and the environment .
We are waiting for you to discover our world in Val d’Orcia