On the slopes of the Valdarnese hills in the tiny, limited area surrounding only five municipalities of Pratomagno (Arezzo), a truly unique legume called the Zolfino bean is grown. It was in this area that a Tuscan tradition began, a tradition that starts in the soil and finishes at the table. A story of love, simplicity, skill and quality. It all began 20 years ago when the Agostinelli family decided to grow ancient varieties of legumes native to Tuscany. The University of Florence gave the family the first batches of seeds to start the business and since then, the Agostinelli company has become an important point of reference for experimentation and genetic enhancement. It is also the custodian of the Zolfino bean germplasm. Mario Agostinelli, the main farmer of the family with the biggest plot (12ha), is proud of his crop: a bean with a unique taste, rich in protein, iron and minerals which is recommended for a vegetarian or vegan diet. The unique characteristics of this bean are derived from the composition of the soil where it is grown. In addition, this makes the Zolfino bean very easy digest due to its fine skin. Mario himself, with the help of his co-workers, is involved in all the stages of farming including bean selection and packaging, all of which is done by hand so that every little detail can be monitored.
The Agostinelli company is currently collaborating with the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pisa to try to enhance the nutritional and health benefits of the Zolfino bean. It is known to be anti-inflammatory and considered a medicinal food suitable for the diets of patients with certain diseases like diabetes.