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“The country hasn’t closed” could be a slogan for the numerous activities being carried on at Ca’ nel Bosco, a farm/farmstay in Portula (Gila, Trivero, Biella), where every day they continue to milk their 68 goats (who live with 17 rabbits and countless hens) and make fresh crescenza, ricotta and robiola cheeses and mature cheeses flavored with herbs, cabbage and saffron.

The owners of Cà nel Bosco, who also run a farmstay, keep in touch with their customers via Instagram. Nearly every day they post photos documenting their work. “Soft and tasty ricottas,” they write; or “
Fiordilatte today”. As well as mouthwatering photos of the products. Or again, “life goes on here with its unstoppable rhythms: here’s what in October was just a chick, yesterday it laid its first egg. Nature is wonderful. We’re not closing, we’re continuing to produce in the hope that all this will soon be over”. In the meantime, business goes on in the form of home deliveries, even as far as Milan.

Time has stopped in town, businesses have closed. But the businesses in Oasi Zegna can’t close down. Because they have the vibrant rhythms of nature. Hens continue to lay eggs, animals continue to be born, goats and cows have to be fed and milked. And milk has to be processed. The busiest and most productive time of year has begun. It’s not something that you can pause.

Work is also continuing at Cascina Pilota (Caulera, Trivero, Biella), a farm built in the ‘40s by Ermenegildo Zegna as an experimental model for mountain cattle raising and recently started up again by a couple of cattle breeders, Valentina and Nicola. Here too the rhythm is that of nature: they produce milk to make cheese, especially for ageing.

Nicola explained it all some time ago at ‘Genius Loci’, a Fondazione Zegna exhibition featuring stories of mountain life and photos by Giovanni Caccamo. “You wake up at dawn – he said – you watch the sun rise, you smell the dew, day by day you learn to recognize your animals, each with its own character, meek and moody by turns… every morning a discovery: milking the goats, working the milk to make cheese”.

If you like goat’s cheese, these two addresses are invaluable. You can contact the farmers directly about deliveries to your home.

* Large photo: Ca' nel Bosco; photo in the middle: Cascina Pilota, photographed by Francesco Taurisano

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