From the office to the tractor
To discover the history of Cascina Oschiena we have to discover first the history of Alice Cerutti, a thirty years old girl who left a manager career to run the family farm with her husband Simone.
After the International School, Alice achieved a degreee in Business Studies, then she lived a year in Bruxelles, she made an internship in New York and finally worked for the Ferrero company. In the meanwhile, she was used to spend the weekends in the family’s farm, in Crova, Vercelli province. In 2008 Alice’s mother decided to sell the whole property, so Alice left her work to manage the farm. She attended an evening class at the Agrarian School of Vercelli, then she learned to cultivate the rice and to drive the tractor. Alice and Simone decided to recreate faithfully the historical rural landscape of the farmstead, starting from the precious tells of the “mondine” – the women who worked in the rice paddies in the past.
In Vercelli, thanks to the Benedictines Monks the activity of rice cultivation dated back to the 16th century, infact some building of Cascina Oschiena were built more than 300 years ago. Over the years, Alice and Simone carried out extensive renovation works, while maintaining the essence and character of the original structures. All the old buildings have been maintained: the drying kiln and the silos necessary for modern rice cultivation have been integrated into the traditional architecture.
Alice follows the way of the sustainable agriculture: in 2012 photovoltaic panels were installed to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable sources and integrated production techniques are used to naturally enrich the land fertility. Alice encourage biodiversity by recreating ancient rural landscapes, and today the Balck-tailed Godwit, a rare migratory bird, has returned to nest in Cascina Oschiena, becoming its symbol.
Today Cascina Oschiena is the only European firm for the production of rice to have the certification Friend Of The Earth and Global-GAP (Good Agricultural Practice).