For several years and good reasons, La Raia has been hosting many of my beehives. Within 180 hectares the of the estate there are a lake full of fishes, hundreds-year-old oak, cherry, acacia, linden and chestnut woods, fields and pastures where cows, horses and poultry can graze free, cereals and leguminous fields, besides the vineyards of the native Cortese vine.
Therefore bees can find here such a variety of nectars and pollens able to grant to the beehives rich and varied feeding all year long, thanks to the bees’ constant searching.
That’s why at La Raia we can produce three types of honey, even if with different quantities according to season and weather trend: an extra fine monofloral acacia honey, an early summer aromatic wildflower honey and a unique honeydew honey.
La Raia’s aspect of harmonious and variegated botanical biodiversity is immediately evident to any visitor. Nevertheless, this is just one of the features, which make La Raia farm the ideal oasis and the shelter not only for bees, but also for other pollinating insects and the smallest life forms. La Raia’s greenery is, in fact, among the few and rare farmed territories where, thanks to the biodynamic approach applied rigorously:
- they do not weed killers molecules, which pollute aquifers irremediably;
- they do not spray the new and powerful systemic fungicides, which seriously compromise the biological balance of elementary life forms, which allow and grant essential vital mechanisms like bread leavening or must fermentation;
- they do not spray vineyards with the recent systemic pesticides, which exterminate and weaken neurological transmission of bees and of all the smallest life forms.
The growing and pervasive chemical impact on the environment – in the last twenty years, in Europe, 60% of butterflies has disappeared – is forcing several Piedmont beekeepers to run away from vineyard-farmed hills when biocides based treatments start to be used. Such treatments help producing excellence of the best Piedmont wines, but at the same time undermine and compromise future life and fertility of the vineyards.
Plant production and the wonderful photosynthesis phenomenon require a series of life forms – i.e. aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, earthworms, insects, birds and chiropters – that are also an essential part and a protagonist of lifecycle on earth.
La Raia is an eco-friendly oasis, because expedients and farming care are applied and combined, following scientific agronomic knowledge and innovation. Our primary mission is to preserve survival and health of those “production living factors” often underestimated because not visible to our eyes.
At La Raia in fact not only bees can survive but also, if weather conditions are good, they produce profusely “as in the past”. All of this is the highest certification of environmental quality which, in my opinion, goes beyond any other kind of certification.
Francesco Panella, beekeper
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