Passion and Inspiration Drive Success at Marina Colonna’s Farm

At her farm in Molise, Marina Colonna's search for quality is driven by a strong passion and forward-thinking attitude.

Drone view of Marina Colonna's farm in Molise.
May. 26, 2021
By Ylenia Granitto
Drone view of Marina Colonna's farm in Molise.

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This year marked the 25th anniver­sary since Marina Colonna estab­lished her head office at Masseria Bosco Pontoni, a dis­trict of San Martino, Molise.

I started to take care of the com­mer­cial aspects of the com­pany long before I moved in here,” she told Olive Oil Times. In 1986, I came up with the bot­tle, and that is where it all started.”

It is con­struc­tive to make peo­ple aware of what lies behind a qual­ity prod­uct and show them the ter­ri­tory from which it comes.- Marina Colonna, pro­ducer

To com­mem­o­rate her bond with the land, Colonna cre­ated Molensis XXV, which won a Silver Award at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition. The lim­ited edi­tion medium blend com­bines Gentile di Larino, Leccino and Rosciola olives.

It is always excit­ing for us to be part of this great event,” Colonna said. We are pleased to have received recog­ni­tion for our qual­ity work.”

See Also: Producer Profiles

All of her prod­ucts come in the iconic ves­sel that she dreamt up and designed. A his­toric glass fac­tory devel­oped her project, shap­ing a bot­tle that has since become the hall­mark of Colonna’s extra vir­gin olive oil.

I reached out to Giovanni Bartolozzi of Vetreria Etrusca, who helped refine and imple­ment my intu­ition,” she said. The idea of that spe­cial pro­file came to me look­ing at a home acces­sory, namely a cur­tain cord knob.”

This detail says a lot about the far-reach­ing yet prag­matic atti­tude of Colonna. She had a promis­ing career as a doc­u­men­tary film­maker ahead of her. However, after speak­ing with her father, Francesco, she decided to take some time off to help him reor­ga­nize the fam­ily com­pany.

Colonna had trav­eled exten­sively, explor­ing remote parts of the world, and stayed in touch with unspoiled nature. This expe­ri­ence played a cru­cial part in broad­en­ing her cre­ative vision.

Less than a year after she arrived at the com­pany, she launched her first prod­uct line, obtain­ing excel­lent results and a great sense of respon­si­bil­ity, which pushed her to con­tinue with the new career path.

I real­ized that a qual­ity job requires pres­ence,” Colonna said. I think that once you start down a path, you have to move on doing the best you can. You can­not back down from the chal­lenge. Either you do, or you don’t.”

Not only did she take up the chal­lenge, but she also upped the stakes, con­tribut­ing to the cre­ation of one of the first trade shows ded­i­cated to the olive oil sec­tor. Enhancing the rep­u­ta­tion of Made in Italy’ in the world, she emerged as one of its lead­ing fig­ures.

Today, extra vir­gin olive oil is the flag­ship prod­uct of her model 165-hectares farm, where Colonna also grows durum wheat, legumes, corian­der and sun­flow­ers.

At the heart of the prop­erty is the 55-hectare olive grove, over half of which is cer­ti­fied organic and con­sists of sev­eral autochtho­nous vari­eties and exper­i­men­tal cul­ti­vars. Colonna cre­ated a vast col­lec­tion that demon­strates her desire for research and improve­ment.

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Leccino, Frantoio, Peranzana, Gentile di Larino, Coratina, Ascolana Tenera, Fs-17, Cima di Melfi, Rosciola, Maiatica, Nocellara del Belice, Itrana, Kalamata, Termite di Bitetto and Leccio del Corno are com­bined in var­i­ous blends, includ­ing Classic, the Molise PDO and the organic line. She also pro­duces oils solely from a sin­gle vari­ety, such as the Peranzana mono­va­ri­etal.

Over the years, these prod­ucts have earned var­i­ous awards at NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Some of her oils are also com­bined with cit­ruses, herbs and spices, cre­at­ing an inter­est­ing selec­tion of fla­vored and infused oils.

See Also: Best Olive Oils From Italy

During the year, we pay the utmost care and atten­tion to our plants,” Colonna said. Then, at the right time, their fruits are har­vested and crushed in our mill, which, after being recently ren­o­vated, boasts two-phase tech­nol­ogy of the lat­est gen­er­a­tion.”

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This allowed us to reach excep­tional lev­els of qual­ity,” she added. Thanks also to favor­able weather con­di­tions, the last har­vest was prob­a­bly the best in recent years, both in terms of vol­umes and qual­ity.”

Along with olive cul­ti­va­tion and oil pro­duc­tion, Colonna also pays spe­cial atten­tion to the agri­tourism aspect of her busi­ness.

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The guests of Casa Colonna are invited on guided tours of the mill, includ­ing a full expla­na­tion of the pro­duc­tion process and a visit to the bot­tling and pack­ing area. They can also enjoy the olive har­vest, par­tic­i­pate in tast­ings and cook­ing classes.

We want to involve all those who visit our farm,” Colonna said. I think that, beyond the Covid-19 pan­demic, the world has changed and com­mu­ni­ca­tion has evolved. This aware­ness becomes essen­tial, since, in this way, we can effi­ciently spread infor­ma­tion and reach so many peo­ple even at a dis­tance, and this is impres­sive.”

At the same time, it is increas­ingly use­ful to orga­nize events on the ground,” she added. It is con­struc­tive to make peo­ple aware of what lies behind a qual­ity prod­uct and show them the ter­ri­tory from which it comes. I see every­one who arrives here appre­ci­ates this very much and is eager to know what we do to achieve qual­ity. Nowadays, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of qual­ity also passes through the expe­ri­ence.”

During activ­i­ties with her guest, Colonna is always present, believ­ing that it is essen­tial to com­mu­ni­cate directly with those who want to learn about her prod­ucts and their unique fea­tures.

Over the years, I have met and worked with many peo­ple and sev­eral for­eign mar­kets,” she said. It is reward­ing when, deal­ing with coun­tries, cul­tures and peo­ples accus­tomed to other types of cui­sine and condi­ments that they start to know, learn and value your extra vir­gin olive oil.”

Because the more they learn, know and appre­ci­ate it, the more they care, fol­low and become aware of what qual­ity is,” she added.

Colonna said that she has an invalu­able team that shares the same qual­ity objec­tives and ded­i­ca­tion, which helps make her high-qual­ity pro­duc­tion pos­si­ble.

Passion,” she said when asked what it takes to do a job like hers. Everything that fol­lows comes from pas­sion. If you have it, you get a thou­sand ideas. When you have it, you can do every­thing.”

Otherwise, it is bet­ter to do some­thing else,” she con­cluded. This is a demand­ing job that requires a great com­mit­ment, and to do that, it takes pas­sion, which, despite seem­ing like a roman­tic idea, is some­thing real and truly nec­es­sary.”


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