Family is not defined by birth, marriage or divorce. Families are not created by recombining DNA. They are created in the heart. They belong together not because they have to, but because they long to. The price you have to pay, to have family, is to listen to occasional advice you don’t want, opinion you may not share and stories you probably have heard a thousand times.

We, as Curtice Brothers, have become a large family. We have found sisters and brothers wherever we went in our quest to create the best possible organic sauces for our customers. All of us do share much of the same DNA: we are dreamers, we share hopes for the future, dreams that may never come true and goals that may never be achieved, but we are idealists and we do not compromise.

One of our youngest brothers is Federico, the son of our skilful ketchup cook Vittorio. He cares for hectares of tomatoes, olives, basil and bees. Federico’s love for his family’s land obliges him go the extra mile, literally: when his queen bee recently died, he travelled 150 kilometres to find a new queen for his colony. Like his father, uncle and cousin, who all work together, he cherishes simplicity, honesty and reliability. Where necessary, each one of them gets down to work on the fields alongside their harvest workers. They rely upon each other to get their crop off the fields just before the clouds bring in the rain, wash the vegetables, cook and fill them into jars and bottles.

At the beginning of this year’s harvest, we visited Federico and his family. We do that most years to absorb this magical atmosphere created by the people on the fields when they rejoice at a good season’s harvest, when the suffering of planting and grooming in the heat and harsh sunlight gives way to the contentment of an abundant and satisfying yield.