Small-Batch Story: Bona Furtuna

Small-Batch Story: Bona Furtuna

At Narrative Food, each of our gifts is designed to tell a story. We have worked with hundreds of vendors over the years, listening to their stories and sharing them with you. In this new series, we are honored to spotlight a few of our favorite small-batch makers in their own words. 

Read our interview with Bona Furtuna’s Director of Business Development Jeanette Greenlaw, and stay tuned for more.

Can you tell us about the story behind Bona Furtuna?

Tucked into the rocky Monti Sicani mountains just outside of Corleone, Sicily, there lies an olive grove redolent with plump fruits fed by fresh mountain springs. As a child, Steve Luczo’s grandmother spoke often of this place where she was born. She spoke so fondly and frequently of it that the image of his ancestral home became embedded into Steve’s identity. In 2009, with the help of master botanist and agronomist Pasquale “Mimmo” Marino, Steve and his wife Agatha were finally able to connect with his ancestral home and bring it back into their family. With two PhDs in agronomy and botany, Mimmo was focused on understanding Sicilian cultural heritage through the lens of heritage agriculture and native species. Through his thorough research of the Monti Sicani mountain region, Mimmo had categorized dozens of native Sicilian varietals, including an endemic Sicilian olive tree that no one knew existed: a 1,600 year old olive tree they appropriately named Biancolilla Centinara or ancient white lilac. Steve and Agatha wanted to find a way to connect not only to the land, but also to their community. While walking the land with their friend Mimmo, conversation blossomed as to what could be possible. With Mimmo's extensive knowledge of Sicilian heritage agronomy an idea was born to put energy back into the land. After some discussion it was decided that there was no better way to begin this mission than help preserve an olive tree on the brink of extinction. A self-pollinating varietal, Biancolilla Centinara olive trees proved to be ideal as they self-promote the fruiting of their olives and the growth of their trees. They began by laying irrigation on the farm, connecting the natural spring waters of Monti Sicani to the sloping hillsides of La Furtuna Estate. Hiring members from the local community to help, the first olive trees were planted, and Bona Furtuna was born.

Tell us about Bona Furtuna's (classic cantucci) biscotti: origins, sustainability practices, favorite pairings, etc. 

Bona Furtuna’s organic biscotti cookies are made by two brothers, Massimillano and Riccardo. Raised in their father’s Tuscan bakery, the pair grew up with flour in their hands and the intoxicating aromas of freshly baked pastries in their heads. When they took over the family business, they decided to modernize the scope of the bakery, tweaking the bakery’s traditional biscotti recipe by adding butter with the goal of creating a more universally approachable, softer version of the Tuscan classic. Using organic Italian grains and almonds, their classic cantucci recipe delivers a stunning peek into Tuscan heritage. To experience how Italians have enjoyed them for centuries, savor cantucci with a glass of vin santo. For a more savory take, we recommend serving these nutty cookies with a tangy goat cheese or mascarpone. 

Since the very beginning, giving back has been a key charter of our company. Our roots were planted in preserving heritage, supporting our local community, and promoting positive environmental engagement. As we grew into a larger global community, we realized that our responsibilities in giving back would need to grow in sync with these core values. Our giving is partitioned into five pillars: education, tree planting, clean water and food access, wildlife and biodiversity, and supporting legislative action. We cannot truly move the needle on environmental sustainability, fair and equal access to food and clean water and education without legislative action. Action on this front is essential, and we support legislation that is aligned with our values on these issues. 1% of revenue from the sale of our Biscotti is donated to organizations working to make lasting change on a legislative level. 

How did Bona Furtuna decide to certify as a B Corp in 2021? How has it advanced your mission as an impact-driven company? And which impact area(s) do you focus on?

From the start, we’ve poured our efforts into learning from the land, sustainably sharing its bounty, and working closely with our local communities to provide a positive impact. Driven by this impact and our desire to continuously be better, we were attuned to businesses focused on achieving similar outcomes. Our desire to join a global network of corporations using business as a force for good fueled us to apply for B Corp certification. Since receiving our certification in 2022, we’ve continued to hone our business practices, focusing heavily on our environmental impact. We’re continuously looking for better packaging solutions, more efficient shipping and handling, and more sustainable operations as a whole. We’ve also focused and organized our philanthropic efforts to build long-term relationships with our nonprofit partners and have longer lasting impact. 

How has the sustainability of the farm evolved over time? Has the La Furtuna Estate always been farmed organically, and what are you most proud of in terms of sustainable practices?

From the start, La Furtuna Estate has been managed with all-natural, organic farming practices. We use exclusively organic matter to fertilize the soil, including the solid olive waste created during the production of our olive oil. Committed to nourishing and promoting the health of our region, La Furtuna Estate is managed using regenerative farming practice to promote a healthy and thriving biodiversity to better health of our soil and allow for the natural predation of pathogens.

Tell us about a favorite food memory. 


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