The old Genoese Serra and Balduino families made their appearance in the Parma Province on June 25, 1879 when – in front of the Giovanni Rondani, notary – Count Girolamo Cantelli and Cavalier Giuseppe Balduino signed the sales contract for the estate in Gainago. The estate consisted of 9 sections, named: Palazzo, Fornace, Codignolo, Cortiletti, Cacciarina, Malcantone, Risaia, Mazzabue, Comune; each section with its own land and several rural homes. Some families that had worked at that time still have descendants living there.
Sharecropping, the main running method used during the period before World War II, gave way – in the following years – to the direct management of the farm by the owner. During the 30’s and 40’s there were more than thirty families with a tenant farming contract.Breeding was practiced in the farm stables where milk produced and then processed, back then as it is today, at the company’s cheese factory, located in the “Malcantone a mane” farm.
In 1976, all the milk cows were put together in one stable with beds in the “Emilia” farm. Orto, S’Antonio and Malcantone farms accommodate calves, heifers and dry cows in a free structure.
Today the farm cultivates its 400 hectares with a five-year crop rotation of grains (wheat or corn), alfalfa or poliphita meadow and sugar beets.From the beginning, it was decided to breed and select the Swiss cow, now the Italian Brown, for its hardiness and adaptability to our territory. Today it gives the right balance between milk quantity and quality.
The farm also raises pigs fed mainly on corn grown on the farm and whey from the remaining milk after it has been transformed into Parmigiano Reggiano. The cheese factory is organized to transform the milk of 220 dairy cows producing about 10 wheels a day; throughout the years, it has been restructured at different points in time to meet health and hygiene requisites. The project for the future, which began back in 1879, is to produce a “Solo di Bruna” Parmigiano Reggiano that is recognised as such: this was made possible since 2005, when the “Consorzio di Sola Bruna” (“Only Italian Brown” Consortium) was established. Gian Domenico Serra with his children Giovanni, Antonietta and Niccolo’, directly manage the farm themselves with the support of a very tight-knit group, each one specialized in his/her own particular area of competence.