We are on the slopes of Mount Etna, one of the most fascinating and increasingly surprising corners of the island, a place which has always been dedicated to vine and citrus-growing. Perhaps not everyone knows that the cultivation of avocado – nutritious subtropical fruits – is also a flourishing and promising production activity on which several producers are investing.
One of them is Andrea Passanisi, a young lawyer who, together with other 6 local producers, has created the consortium SiciliaAvocado which is intended to promote and enhance avocado cultivation with a production of over 100 tons of fruits per year. Andrea and his lively and affectionate black Labrador Cleopatra accompanies us through the 12-hectar organic cultivation located in the area surrounding the city of Giarre.
I love this land – Andrea Passanisi tells us – I gradually approached to this new activity which has now become a true passion for me. My grandfather was a farmer. My family grew lemons, but after a trip to Brazil, I decided to implement the cultivation of subtropical species. I realized that this soil is ideal for the production of excellent fruits which do not want to replace the tasteful Sicilian citrus fruits, but rather to complete our production offer.Andrea Passanisi
The microclimate, the permeable and highly mineral soil, and the purity of our water are essential elements for the cultivation of these delicious fruits, widely appreciated in countries like France, Switzerland and Poland. It is a pleasure walking through avocados, while discovering their beauty, learning about all their varieties and different harvesting period – ranging from October to June (once harvested fruits mature in about 10 days).
During our visit to the farm we have been greatly fascinated by the majestic trees belonging to the personal collection owned by Prof. Alberto Continella of the University of Catania: about 15 varieties of avocado trees, some of which aged more than 40 years.
A real open-air museum immersed in a unique landscape among orange, lemon and kumquat trees which I suggest to visit by bike. This wonderful experience can be concluded by enjoying the dishes masterly prepared by the chef Leopoldo Pennisi in the lovely restaurant “Borgo dell’Etna” placed inside an old millstone which overlooks Etna peeking through the clouds.