The four varietals used in creating the Bondolio olive oil blend have an ancestral lineage that can be traced to the Greeks who brought these trees to Sicily in a time that most likely pre dates the birth of Christ. Together for the first time in California, these varietals reveal their unique heritage in the taste of Bondolio. It’s note worthy that not only is the ratio of the varietals in the Bondolio blend important, but a significant contributor to the quality of the oil is the Nocellera fruit, highly cherished in Sicily for it’s buttery taste. There other varietals are used in the field blend, and a fourth varietal has been mixed into the orchard to serve as an additional pollinator but not harvested for milling.
There were many that advised the Bonds against planting the Sicilian varietals. Admonishments like: “they might be the same trees but don’t expect the oil to taste the same”. Ultimately the varietal blend is very close to that found in high end oils of Sicily. Aside front the varietals selected, the quality of the oil in Bondolio is also due in no small part to the Sicilian like warm Summers, semi arid conditions and rich soil of the western edge California’s San Joaquin Valley. Here are a few examples of flora that demonstrate the similarities between Sicily and California: prickly pear cactus, palm trees, and eucalyptus. It might just be that the trees of the Bondolio farm are very much at home and comfortable in their surroundings in Winters California.
The spirit of the Southern Italian and Sicilian family farming methods have been documented by the Bonds and are followed closely to preserve the true heritage of these remarkable olive trees.
The layout design of the orchard is not the typical high density found with olive farms in California. The trees of Bondolio follow the spacing patterns of the old traditional Southern Italian layout with more than 25 feet separation of trees and rows. Next, the trees are precision pruned with a Southern Italian focus of opening the center expose each branch and all the fruit to full sun and air circulation. These methods allow not only for maximum sun and fresh air to penetrate and nourish the fruit but also act on minimizing the possibility of introducing pests that can damage to the fruit.
A Designer Orchard
The Bond family is committed to crafting their Sicilian memories into Bondolio oil for you. One might say they’ve come up with a designer orchard of Nocellara, Biancollila and Cerasuola varietals that produce a oil blend of an aristocratic pedigree. However, if you were to ask Karen Bond about this she would say that Bondolio is simply an oil found almost anywhere in Southern Italy and Sicily where quality is expected. That said, it is also a fact that the Bondolio blend is a special find in California. An elegant, unique California olive oil. Please enjoy.