On the sunny slopes of Calabria, in the southwest tip of the Italian peninsula, the Cilione family has been cultivating and producing the finest citrus oils in the world for six generations.
Enzo Cilione learned the craft of citrus from his father, Antonino Cilione. And working at his side, Enzo’s daughters, Luisa and Marika, are poised to be the seventh generation to carry on the family business.
With the passed-down wisdom of an ancestor who knew how to grow and when to harvest the fragrant buds, the Cilione family’s intimate knowledge of citrus fruit is unparalleled. And though their family-owned land is planted with organic lemons, mandarins, and oranges, the fragrant bergamot they grow is their truest labor of love.
Bergamot shares its green-ish yellow color with limes and its shape and size with the orange. But that’s where its similarities with other members of the citrus family ends. Although bergamot’s signature aroma is used to flavor everything from Earl Grey teas to the sweetest cookies and most sophisticated treats, the fruit itself is inedible fresh from the tree.
All the fragrant, citrusy, spicy flavor of bergamot is packed into the zest. It takes intimate knowledge and the utmost care to cultivate and hand-harvest it at its peak in late fall and early spring. And it takes masterful skill to process and distill this super sour fruit into oils that live up to bergamot’s full aromatic and culinary potential.
Knowing healthy orchards and quality fruit are the key to producing the finest bergamot on Earth, Enzo Cilione converted their family’s 34 hectares of citrus orchards to certified organic and sustainable farming in 2007.
Proudly drawing on timeless tradition, organic methods doesn’t just help Cilione produce bergamot of unparalleled excellence without compromising yield. Organic bergamot cultivation helps maintain biodiversity and rural economic vitality in a region that has seen the mass growth of tourism and increasing pressure from urbanization since the 1970s.
Cilione’s success with organic and sustainable cultivation and production methods has helped Enzo spread this approach to other farmers in the region, improving environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability, further cementing Calabria’s reputation for producing the best bergamot in the world.
The Cilione family’s commitment to organic cultivation and dedication to their craft is why we are proud to use their bergamot in One Degree Organics Honey Bergamot Tea-Infused Granola.