An example of youth entrepreneurship. John, Andrea, Matthew and Paul: the Masters Apothecaries.

The Saffron in Brianza.

“Agriculture as' nature naturata’ ie the nature that becomes the object, takes shape, thanks to the action of nature itself, the man.” Ivan Lalli

John, Andrea, Matthew and Paul, class between 1986 and the 1991, respectively of Parma, Messina, Milan and Rome. Four young people who met during their university studies, Now Masters Apothecaries. What to do? From 2011 produce saffron and derivatives in Usmate Velate, in the countryside Brianza. A spice known since antiquity for the therapeutic properties antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial.

I went to find them a bit’ time ago, 'On the field', to know them by talking to them face to face, I like it. I love to confront young people who invest their energies in agriculture. Are formed by the universities but they need support from the institutions and who does communication. Much is being done but much still serves. For this, through their words, Now I will cause them to know.

Masters Apothecaries

  • Everything is born from your encounter at university, but also from the experience of Ivan during a trip to Kashmir in India. Ivan's up to you. Tell me about it '?

First I must stress the importance of the time at university. I had the good fortune to meet a company of guys really passionate about the world of agriculture and agribusiness that involved us with an association, www.associazionecerere.it, born on purpose to live out this passion. This allowed us to learn to know the different realities, experiences and men who lived with their work some magic. Hence our desire to be able to do a similar experience and boldness in the launch into the challenge of spices and saffron.

The trip to India was a confirmation of everything. In part because it made me discover how lucky we are in Italy as we are educated to watch something as simple as food and work, and clothing them in a great value; partly because by moving to own in Kashmir I could see how the man in front of the beauty is more man: areas where they grow saffron were in fact more “civilians”, even in the drama of the domain of Islamic fundamentalism (one night they killed the bartender from which the night before had consumed alcohol).

  • Can you tell me more about how you started, but especially, what were the main difficulties you have encountered?

We started at the wedding of Andrea, when around a table I Matteo and Paul we left giving appointment to the following week for the first of a long series of weekly meetings. The difficulties were especially early. Thein search of a land rent seemed transformed into an odyssey: we knocked on dozens of farms and companies finding only closed doors.

Another difficult time was the establishment of the company: define a statute regolamentasse relations between four people and those with the state was not easy. Fortunately, we have presented a good accountant who aspires to holiness that is helping us so much. The last episode that story is the choice of packaging and their graphics. Being in 4 could be a difficulty: 4 different tastes, 4 heads who would like to put something of their own in the creature… We got to see everything as a resource and to make a great product.


  • Listening to you I appreciated the agricultural production methods that you adopt environmentally. In particular interested me control techniques fertilizer. I leave you to continue…

We would like to take a responsible approach and rational agriculture. So we go beyond fashions in cultivating the land. For example in the fertilization of the field for now we are using manure that is less invasive if we, in parallel we are doing tests to try to better define the elements that consumes Saffron for somministrarglieli in granular form that is more precise. In fact, the manure has big limitations: is very uneven in content and may or impoverish the soil or ruin it by releasing excess elements.

  • From where your bulbs, and occurred as the choice?

Our bulbs are a little’ Italy a bit’ from abroad. We have and we are looking for quality. You can not generalize. Each producer works in its own way. We tried an Italian manufacturer but disappointed, with the foreign one we had better.


  • The Saffron in Brianza, say a crop which is not just linked to the territory. Courageous choice or conscious?

Primarily a choice of the heart: the Brianza hides corners that do just fall in love. From here, with courage and awareness of the risks and hardships, we launched into a new world.

  • John, back to us. Are you a graduate in biology technology. I shall quote the words of the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677): "Nature can not be considered a static thing: inside it is expressed activity. (…) The action of nature that can not be conducted on itself, but causes a split between subject (Nature naturans) and object (Nature naturata). Within this dynamic process of Nature clearly shows the problem of the relationship between freedom and necessity. "I ask you to approfondirmi an issue that we started to discuss during my visit, I refer to GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms). A term now demonized by the media. How things really are for you?

I regard agriculture as “nature naturata” ie the nature that becomes the object, takes shape, thanks to the action of nature itself, the man. I can not embrace fads, to see the man as the bad guy. I see that nature has laws that are not understandable to man in toto. Throughout history man has tried to tame.

In an ongoing relationship that never stops growing, demonize research, block the exchange between man and nature does not lead to anything good. Man is not made to be an ostrich. Must always try to cross the columns.

Masters Apothecaries
Manufacturers of Saffron and derivatives


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