The first thing Beatrice told me after our visit with Antonio Palmieri was that if she were born a buffalo, she would want to be a buffalo on Vannulo farm.
The conditions that these buffalo live in are spectacular. Better than most New Yorkers. Each buffalo has their own resting area on cushy rubber mats; we are told each buffalo is very loyal to their specific spot. Lots of sunlight and fresh air pour in from the open sides of the corral (the roof keeps out the harsh southern sun). Loudspeakers play new age music, and at night therapeutic lights glow.
In the middle of each row, there are big car wash style massage brushes. The buffalo line up to rub their backs on them. Seriously, there is a calm, orderly, buffalo-managed line (no humans organizing this queue), patiently waiting for their turn at the back massagers. Happy cows make better milk. To make the cows happy, they get to do what they damn please.
And if your jaw hasn’t dropped yet, listen to this. There is an automatic milking station. This is how it works. Female buffalo can be milked once every 8 hours. When a buffalo is ready to be milked she approaches the milking station door. If it has been 8 hours or more the door opens. If it has been less than 8 hours, the door does not open. When the buffalo enters the milking area, the electronic milker pulls up her profile and adjusts to the exact positioning of her utter. WOW.
This is Italian good food innovation at its finest. Not to mention, Antonio Palmieri is a spectacular human being. He preaches the idea of La Decrescita Felice, a concept we still haven’t fully grasped, but that we know we are really into. And, Antonio Palmieri is crazy about Franceso Vastola’s Fig Jam. He eats it every morning with yogurt.
We love this good food place, and we love Tonino. We love his buffalo, and OH BOY do we love his mozzarella. An amazing visit.