Sorelle Barnaba, Monopoli, Bari, Puglia, Italy.
The Barnaba business is built on the basis of production, relying on around 1500 ancient olive trees as well as many younger trees. In the orchard, different varietals of olive fruit are selected to keep low acidity, density and subtlety of flavor. In collaboration with certified analysis labs, a mix is created for cooking oil. The milling takes place in a centrifuge press that guarantees a low temperature extraction and storage in stainless steel tanks that allows for the preservation of the organoleptic compounds (taste and scent). The refined and elegant packaging makes the oil of Sorelle Barnaba an excellent gift idea for any occasion; it’s useful, inexpensive and tasty. For loyal customers there is even the opportunity to customize the labels either for special events or with your own business logo. In fact, Sorelle Barnaba products come in different sizes for restaurant owners who want to guarantee a high level of quality and freshness to their customers. Aside from the highest quality olive oil, the countryside surrounding Monopoli bring to tables an extraordinary abundance of genuine vegetables and preserves.
Daughters of three generations of olive farmers, Marianna, Nicla and Laura are three young women who have decided to value the hard work of their father, Vito, who has always been dedicated to the cultivation of olives and vegetables. Able to rely on a farm of over 100 hectares, Vito has worked for over 50 years on his land like the majority of farmers, who are the first link in a long food chain. The worsening of the economic crisis and an ever more aggressive market have continually driven down the value of a product, extra virgin olive oil, always a flagship for its recognized quality. The three sisters, therefore, have now decided to give a name and a face to the products that come from their land and go directly to the consumer, bypassing any intermediary. In fact, since 2012, Sorelle Barnaba has been selling the products of their family farm thanks to a distinctive new packaging, appealing to consumers who admire excellence. Thanks to an intelligent harvest schedule and the discerning fruit selection of the producers, they are able to bottle oils with diverse sensory qualities, able to satisfy a wide range of consumers.
There is an invisible underground world in Puglia, but using history as a light to guide us, we can illuminate the knowledge hidden in the darkness. We are talking about the underground olive mills that were dug from the rock or built by masons centuries ago that invigorated the territory of Puglia. We find them in Taranto, Ruvo and Canosa in a Hellenistic style, from the times of the ancient Greeks, and they are a “hidden” testament to an ancient civilization. Many more underground oil mills are found in the territory of Monopoli, precious structures that have for centuries produced the so-called “green gold”. Just as the olive trees are the quintessential feature of the regional landscape, so the underground olive mills have always been essential to the economic and social culture of Puglia. These underground chambers are the result of the hard work of excavators known as catamonti or foggiari. The underground presses were places that, for many years, witnessed the hard life of the farming man. Places capable of offering to the “trappetari” – olive farmers – a favorable environment for working the olives. Take into account that a mill excavated from the stone was preferable to one built on ground level because of the necessity for warmth during the production of the oil. As we know, it becomes solid at around 6° C. Therefore, in order to make the extraction easier, it was essential to have a mild atmosphere in which to press the olives. This is a feature that can only be secured underground. The chambers were warmed by the lights that shone night and day, the fermentation of the olives and, above all, by the heat produced in the physical efforts of men and animals. Think of the mules that pulled the mighty grinding wheels. The underground oil mills, moreover, offered the advantage of allowing rapid and direct emptying of sacks of olives into the chambers below, through the openings that were at the center of the vault ceilings, thus saving time and labor. The elimination of the residue left from oil production was also made easier, given the nature of the karst limestone found underground, whose deep fissures naturally absorbed every trace of the natural production residue. From an economic point of view, these structures weren’t very expensive nor did they require much labor to complete. Since the 19th century, the underground mills have fallen out of use; even so many can be found in the countryside around Monopoli, made unique by the decorative art and large machinery of the time. Entering into these “microcosms,” one has the pleasure of interacting with a “spaciality” of lights and darks and silences, all almost reminiscent to a place of profound religious spirituality. At the residence of the maternal family of the Barnaba sisters, a beautiful antique underground mill can be admired, which preserves intact fundamental distinguishing symbols of the most ancient tradition of oil making. Outside, it is signed by a cross. A few meters away is the modern mill installation, with a continuous cycle, three-phase press. The storage is in stainless steel tanks and the bottling is semi-automated. Many of these stone treasures, like that of the Barnaba family, have been put into “cultural heritage” routes as a testimony to the high value of farming civilization. A culture worth discovering, that the Barnaba family will help raise awareness of through visits, dedicated inparticular to the younger generations, to pass down the value of this cultural identity that connotes “Made in Puglia.”
Il Pizzico, il Delicato, il Secolare.