For over a hundred years the ancient Sommariva oil mill, located within Albenga’s medieval walls, has been the place where the Sommariva Family produces the cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, known as “mosto”, and also sells all kinds of specialities from Ligurian cuisine, which are created with full respect towards artisanal production without using any additives or preservatives.
The reason for the Sommariva mill being one of the most impressive in Liguria is due to its location within the medieval walls of the town, which in turn are founded on two boundary walls of Roman origin. Within its vaulted stone roofed rooms, immersed in the unmistakable scent of olives and olive oil, is housed a collection of a large number of interesting tools, machines, pictures and objects from historic olive oil production. These are all the objects collected over the years by Domenico (Nino) Sommariva, and are a demonstration of his expertise and unrivalled passion.
The olive oil production obviously had to be updated to meet a series of EEC directives demanding machinery in accordance with new laws. The old machinery is on exhibit, while newer technology and a qualified staff are now the key figures of the olive oil production process.
The organic turning point:
Domenico Sommariva was the creator of the “organic experience” for the Sommariva company.
He has been a pioneer in this field in Italy. His goal was to give his products an additional feature that could set them apart from their competitors and he identified this feature in organic certification.
In 1972 Domenico was one of the first farmers to associate his company with “Suolo e Salute”, the first institution and certifying body in the organic sector in Italy and, with his agreement, the fields at the Sommariva farm were used as a testing ground for what at the time were new organic technologies.
Nowadays the company boasts more than 40 years of experience in the field of organic agriculture, with full respect towards organic laws and absolute control on products, ingredients and the manufacturing process.
The organic sector is one of the principal missions for the Sommariva family, and their commitment is seen in all of the delicious and healthy products the company offers.
Farm and Innovation:
The Sommariva’s farm is still the same one that was established in 1915 by Domenico Sommariva. It has been improved and extended throughout the years, but its roots are the same, planted by Domenico and his parents, who had moved from Genova to Albenga to bring their dream to life.
Huge restructuring works began in 1978 and were carried out for over 10 years by Domenico and then afterwards by his son Agostino, who became responsible for the whole operation.
The farm has ancient origins that go back to the start of the 1900s when Domenico’s parents moved from their birthplace in the region of Genova.
Today the whole complex extends over a surface of about 115,000 square metres. The vineyards occupy around six hectares, where grapes are grown for the production of the Pigato, Vermentino and Rossese wines sold by Sommariva. Around 45,000 square metres are occupied by olive groves while the remaining 5,000 square metres are occupied by greenhouses, where the main crops being cultivated are basil, wall rocket, dill, tomatoes and artichokes. All fields are cultivated in accordance with ‘organic’ farming procedures: using only manure and olive residue (the so called ‘sansa’) as fertilizer.
The farm has always been a very close collaborator of the ‘Suolo e Salute’ association of Turin, the very first institution for study and control in the organic sector, of whom Domenico has been a great supporter since the very beginning.
The sensitivity towards ecological issues pushed the company in 2004 to make an investment which could allow the realization of a high quality product with low environmental impact.
The purchase of the Alfa Oliver 500 machinery allowed the installation of a modular system of oil extraction, greatly appreciated among experts, and resulting in a product of excellence.
The commitment to environmental safeguards and organic farming resulted in the Sommariva farm being one of the first Italian companies to be awarded the ‘Carbon Trust Standard’ certification.