Italy is Europe's biggest producer of organic food. And the market is expanding. In Montalcino the trend is clearly visible with the growing number of wineries, which have moved on to organic or even biodynamic agriculture. 

But the organic produce of the Val d'Orcia doesn't stop with wine. Vegetables, Pecorino cheese and even honey are organically certified. A good place to taste the locally grown produce is Montalcino's organic market which takes place once a month (usually on a Sunday, see dates for 2013 below). 

The 2013 dates of the organic market in Montalcino

The market is a small but delicious affair. The producers put up their stalls under the Logge (the arches) on the main square right next to Montalcino's best bars. Do some foodie shopping and then have your coffee or glass of red wine at Le Logge or La Fiaschetteria afterwards. 

Make sure you look out for the sheep cheese of Podere il CasaleThe farm is located close to Pienza and is is one of my favorite organic producers in Southern Tuscany. It's worth to stop by if you're cruising the Val d'Orcia. Especially if you travel with kids, as Podere Il Casale has plenty of animals to admire and fields to run around in. Bring your tent if you have one.  

The Val d'Orica farmer markets started out as organic only, however the strategy has changed a bit. The approach is now more the one of Slow Food's km 0, which means that also farms which are not organically certified can participate - as long as they are from the area and apply an eco-friendly production strategy.  If you want to be sure to buy organic, ask the sellers after agricultura biologica (organic agriculture) or certificazione biologica (certified organic). 

NOT IN MONTALCINO on the days of the market? You may be more lucky in Bagno Vignoni or San Quirico d'Orcia.

San Quirico d'Orcia and Bagno Vignoni market days
2013 dates for the local produce market in San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza

Last but not least there is Montalcino's weekly market every Friday morning, where you can normally find an organically certified vegetable farmer from the area. 

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