German precursor of Bio in Italian land

A mix of highly unusual factors, but they turned out to be “columns” of an exciting and winning novel of private and productive life.

We are at the end of the seventies, the young Karl Egger leaves his native land, Munich, to move to the south of Tuscany. He fell in love with those landscapes, but above all with Italian food and wines.

Light years away from the current market trends of organic production, young Karl had done in-depth studies on how intensive agriculture in Europe was strongly impoverishing soils.  

From a wealthy family, he decided he wanted to pursue the mission of defending the quality of food, directly adopting the advanced studies he had undertaken in his new mission.

He is determined. Change of life: from Germany to Maremma where he buys seven hectares of land to cultivate fruits and vegetables in a natural way. The farmhouse named “La Selva” will give its name to the farm.

Agronomic notions of the highest level directly imparted to the first employees of the company by important Italian and German university professors in order to set up in the best possible way the cultivation of organic farming.

It is a forerunner in Italy. The mission is to give the authentic taste of food of the past. 

They start the preserves involving several local artisan producers who have the task of transforming the freshly harvested vegetables preserved in glass jars.

The success is extraordinary, especially in Germany where Egger, together with a few other farmers, fills a strong demand for organic food already rooted locally in the nineties. 

Always maintaining the balance between the introduction of modern production techniques balanced by accurate manual work. 

After almost forty years of life LaSelva, still maintains unchanged the principles of bio-agriculture processing although having changed the numbers and scenarios derived from land acquisitions (today the company covers an area of 800 hectares and boasts a wide range of gastronomic specialties but also wine. In 2003, in fact, was established Cantina LaSelva (near the village of Magliano in Tuscany) which allows the company to make wine in the territory of the prestigious Morellino di Scansano.

Acquisitions and pioneers of organic gastronomy. There could only be a strongly managerial approach on the part of the owners who decided years ago to entrust the “helm of LaSelva” to Christian Stivaletti, a food technologist who had already been with the company since 2013 as quality manager.

Today at the head of a company that during the summer peaks reaches over 100 employees and a turnover of 13 million euros, he focuses with his words the passion of his collaborators of the pleasure of sharing with the customer the taste of the fruits collected and processed. But above all, respect for the earth. 

” Nothing is taken away and nothing added”.
Most of the products are gluten, yeast and lactose free. The product portfolio includes nearly 200 organic and vegan specialties and 13 wines.
The year 2020 was a record year that marked an increase in sales of +30%, thanks mainly to the German market, Stivaletti explains, where LaSelva products have now become at home for Germans accustomed to increasingly massive purchases in organic grocery stores and supermarkets.

“Treating oneself to highly controlled, organic foods or wines with ancient flavors is a pampering that has seen many new consumers during this difficult year. We have had very strong increases in sales in different areas of the globe such as Japan USA, UK and Eastern countries, which suggest that high quality foods are becoming a must for the new generations as well” explains Stivaletti.

A new world that goes towards the rediscovery of the pleasure of sitting at the table, of sharing with loved ones and friends flavors that the modern pre-Pandemic world often erased with its frenzy and lack of respect for our flavors. LaSelva embodies in its soul this new way of loving life made of important details such as high quality food.

Matteo Donelli

International manager and journalist, he has held the role of president and vice-president of companies in the USA, China and Brazil on behalf of an Italian company. Journalist for Emilian and national newspapers, he is author of the books “Orientarsi in Cina” and “Brazil, storie dell’altro mondo”.