Bonanno, an organic farming paradise in Pantelleria


Share on:


In a time when water is a primary asset even more than in the past, due to its scarcity and the climatic changes that affect the planet across all areas and seasons, it looks curious that there are lands that can be cultivated without irrigation.
It is even more curious if we consider that this area is in the Mediterranean, just 70 km from Africa. It is Pantelleria we are talking about.

In this area, agriculture is done through dry farming, since there is no fresh water, but the humidity and rainwater enable the growth of wonderful crops that are unique in the world in terms of flavour and characteristics.

“It is the case of the olive trees – says Emanuela Bonanno from the Bonanno’s farm – which are plants that grow like bushes rather than tall and luxuriant trees”. This is because Pantelleria is a very windy island, with a thoroughly Mediterranean climate and low rainfall. The oil is produced by the typical local cultivar that is called ‘biancolilla’ because of its whitish leaves and the presence of a fluff that covers them, in order to create a barrier against the wind but to absorb moisture.

Bonanno explains that “the soil is made up of volcanic soil and rocks. Due to the absence of wells, it is sandy and very draining, and this facilitates dry cultivation. Although high temperatures lead to a shortage of organic matter, the soil is very rich in potassium thanks to its volcanic origin”. This also facilitates the cultivation of vines with special grapes, which, through drying, generate the famous dry white wine.

There is certainly no shortage of tanks for storing water, which is then desalinated and used only for certain vegetable cultivations. The type of plots favours ripening at different times: there are terraced lands with a pronounced slope and the altitude ranges from a few metres above sea level in coastal areas to 200/300 metres above sea level in hilly inland areas. The highest altitude is 836 metres.
The Bonanno company was founded by Emanuela’s father in 1971, but it was under her leadership that it switched to a totally organic direction. “I strongly support nature and sustainability, and here in Pantelleria we are trying to make the whole island organic through a project that involves not just tourism or compliance with legislation, but a lifestyle choice in order to preserve this unique territory. Of course, costs and investments are high, but we know we are giving a service and transmitting values. This motivates us to move forward”.
There are ten employees working a total of 15 hectares of vegetables, olive trees, vines and capers, where even the processed products, from preserves to wine, oil and sauces, are managed within a closed supply chain.
Sales are made through a few niche shops and distributors specialised in organic products and through e-commerce.
During the tourist season, there are plenty of tastings and visits by tourists fascinated by the bonsai olive trees and the centuries-old plants that survive the particular climatic conditions and the related stress. It is a paradise of scents, sea and sky, all completely organic.
Giuliana Avila Di Stefano


Follow Us


Related News