Agriculture in the Aosta Valley has now completed that phase of revision and modernization that has led, from a self-sufficient rural economy, to an agricultural economy specializing in high-quality products.
The main aspect of regional agriculture is given by the breeding of cattle, which currently number about 47,000, of which about 17,000 are dairy cows. Against this endowment of its own milk, the Aosta Valley has developed its own dairy industry, the best known product of which is the cheese with a protected designation of origin: “Fontina”, which has recently also been recognized at European level.
At a regional level, about 270,000 wheels weighing at least 8 kilograms each are produced each year, which are individually verified and branded by the “Consortium of fontina producers of the Aosta Valley”.
Of the regional area considered productive, about 55% is made up of forests, while the remainder is made up of meadows and pastures.
The products of regional agriculture are typical of mountain areas, mainly: rye, potatoes, apples and pears.
About 600 hectares of the central valley are cultivated as orchards, almost entirely dedicated to apples and pears, divided into some typical mountain varieties, including: “reinette”, “golden” and “starking”.
A highly specialized sector, although not in terms of quantity, is that of viticulture, which has managed to qualify its production with wines with a controlled designation of origin known throughout the world.
There are also about 700 beekeepers in the Valle d’Aosta area who, with an average of 10-12 hives each, produce about 1,250 kilograms of honey on an annual basis. Typically Aosta Valley honey is divided into three categories: wildflower, chestnut and rhododendron.