“Filippo! Salvatore! Don’t make dad waiting or he’s going to leave you at home this time!”
I can still hear the voice of my mother Annunziata calling us from the kitchen, sweet and inflexible at the same time. My brother Salvatore and I, fighting against sleep, would dress in a hurry, ready for the most awaited day of every summer, the day of tomatoes.
The fresh air of the early morning and the smile of our father Giuseppe who made us get on the back of the pickup truck, together with the wood cases, remain among the best memories of my life.
The trip to the countryside was long but for us it seemed endless. We could not wait to help dad and all the other grownups to pick the tomatoes that peeped out from the green of the plantations.
With a jump Salvatore and I were already on the field and started chasing each other with the cases in our hands. We would vie to see who could collect more tomatoes. Every now and then dad came to watch over us, checking the cases we were slowly filling.
If he saw any overripe or slightly damaged tomatoes, he would remove it and patiently explain to us how to recognize and collect only the best tomatoes, “as a good puree – he said – must be made only with the most beautiful tomatoes!”.
When the sun beat down, dad would invite everyone to eat and rest a little. Our mother Annunziata and the other women were busy washing the dark bottles of beer and spreading out the rags under the sun for the following dripping of the tomatoes.
After playing hide and seek in that small forest of rags to keep us busy, the adults gave us the task of helping them to remove the peduncles from the tomatoes and to wash them.
I still remember how carefully dad, mom and the others would cut the tomatoes while the boiling water canners were eager to hug the red gold of that hot summer. We carried out with scrupulous attention every little task that was assigned to us, to the point that we heard people say: “Filippo and Salvatore are the sons of don Giuseppe and donna Annunziata! You can clearly see it! They have the passion in their blood!”
The eyes of our parents were filled with satisfaction, even though they were not stingy with reprimands, especially when we were playing with the caps we used to close the amber bottles full of perfumed puree.
The tomato celebration continued until sunset, when the women tidied everything up and dad distributed his puree cases to each family. The rest of them were to be brought to the market.
So many summers have passed since then and that celebration has a date of birth and even a name. It’s called La Torrente and since 1965 every day is a celebration.
The first packaging system Giuseppe and Annunziata Torrente used to store the tomato puree was the bottle of beer. This choice was made as it was an efficient and cheap system. It was effective because we could avoid adding preservatives thanks to the glass, chemically inert. Thanks to the amber colour then, the tomato was protected from the light and could last longer. It was cheap because the reuse of beer bottles markedly reduced the production costs. In addition, 66cl format was optimal for family consumption.
Being forerunners of the reuse, Giuseppe and Annunziata Torrente have made a small glass bottle a real time machine able to preserve advantages and values still precious.
From father to son, La Torrente management has always been in the hands of the family. After Giuseppe and Annunziata, the helm was passed into the hands of Filippo and Salvatore. Today, along with the third generation, they supervise all areas of corporate management and keep in the management composition, the legacy of the original values.
Thanks to innovation and creativity, La Torrente has steadily grown its turnover over the years, sure that processing tomatoes is a family passion.
The beginning of the 70’s stands for the turning point of Giuseppe Torrente’s company. They start to use cans for the packaging of peeled tomatoes while the processing of tomatoes is almost completely done by hand. Canning becomes mechanical, the first manual machines to hermetically seal the cans are born.
Thanks to these innovations, the company could meet the increasing demand, at the time La Torrente company produced and canned 15,000 quintals of tomatoes.
These are the years when Filippo and Salvatore, sons of Giuseppe and Annunziata Torrente, officially become part of the family business, which at this point becomes a SRL company. The production has grown a lot, it reaches 30,000 quintals of processed tomatoes per year and the first production line built on 4000 square meters is launched. The target is to meet the needs of the whole Campania region.
At the beginning of the 90’s La Torrente became a large factory, established on a 10,000 square meters area. In addition, a second plant was born in Sant’Antonio Abate and it was used as a warehouse to store the huge quantity of processed, bottled and canned tomatoes, around 70,000 quintals.
Thanks to the fleet of vehicles which has been growing in the recent years to meet the constant increasing demand, the distribution now reaches all southern Italy.
We are almost at the end of the millennium and La Torrente company distributes its delicious products throughout Italy. The production went beyond 120,000 quintals of processed tomatoes. In this moment La Torrente receives the first ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 company certifications.
Production continues to grow at a very fast pace, and it is more than doubled. In a few years it reaches 300,000 quintals of processed tomatoes.
La Torrente’s products, thanks to the constant inspections carried out both by the internal laboratory for quality certifications and by external specialized laboratories for the authenticity of the product, have product certifications and traceability of the supply chain.
Today, La Torrente company reaches the production of 550,000 quintals, shared into different categories such as catering, retail, ready sauces and special products for high quality cuisine.
Il primo sistema di confezionamento che Giuseppe e Annunziata Torrente utilizzarono per conservare la passata di pomodoro fu la bottiglia di birra. Questa scelta fu fatta perchè era un sistema efficace ed economico. Efficace perchè il vetro, chimicamente inerte, permetteva di non aggiungere conservanti, poi, grazie al colore ambrato, il pomodoro era protetto dalla luce e durava di più. Economico perchè il riutilizzo di bottiglie di birra abbatteva considerevolmente i costi di produzione. Inoltre, il formato da 66 cl era ottimale pr il consumo familiare.
Antesignani del riutilizzo, Giuseppe e Annunziata Torrente hanno reso una piccola bottiglia di vetro una vera e propria macchina del tempo capace di conservare negli anni vantaggi e valori validi anche oggi più che mai.
Di padre in figlio, il management La Torrente è sempre rimasto nelle mani della famiglia.
Dopo Giuseppe e Annunziata, il timone è passato nelle mani di Filippo e Salvatore, che oggi, insieme alla terza generazione, presiedono tutte le aree della gestione aziendale; conservando nel tessuto dirigenziale, l’eredità dei valori originari. Negli anni grazie a innovazione e creatività, La Torrente è cresciuta progressivamente nel fatturato e nella convinzione che produrre conserve sia una passione di famiglia.