Our Story

Costa Mandorla S.R.L., società agricola was founded in 2013 in Ginostra, Lipari, Italy by Lukas Ruflin to produce organic food only: honey, olive oil, capers and almonds.

Our lands are on the volcano Stromboli (north of Sicily) and are situated between the village of Ginostra and the crater zone of the world’s most active volcano.  

We love Stromboli (also named “the lighthouse of the Mediterranean” or locally “Iddu” (him)) and we love what we do (simply lava you, Costa Mandorla). Every day we are working our lands on Stromboli we are overtaken by the beauty of this unique island. When curing our trees and bees we usually look up to the mountain watching the regular clouds of ashes and fumes spitted out by Stromboli as a result of its Strombolian eruptions (yes, due to its regular activity Stromboli has given its name to a certain type of volcanic activity describing relatively mild volcanic eruption blasts, of 1 to 3 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI)). When turning around, we have the Tyrrhenian Sea at our feet and overlooking the village of Ginostra we see all the other Aeolian islands. On a clear night, we can count thousands of stars and far away, behind the Aeolian islands, we see the island of Sicily, illuminated by the lights of the Sicilian coast line and surmounted by Stromboli’s bigger brother Mount Etna, sometimes glowing red as a result of its own volcanic activities.

To us, we are simply farming the world’s most beautiful place.  

Ginostra is known to have the world’s smallest port and has no roads. We are working our terraced lands in an artisan way. For the production of our organic food we are taking advantage of the fact that our lands are in the same pristine state as centuries ago: in the 1930ies many of Ginostra’s inhabitants emigrated to continents far away following which the historic artisan agricultural activity in the village seized. Stromboli is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Natural Reserve of Italy.  

Our organic food tastes unique and we produce it supported by the 4 elements of Mother Nature: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Our olive trees, almond trees and capers bushes benefit from Ginostra’s rocky and volcanic lands and its exposure to the South which guarantees daily direct Sun exposure from ca. 8.30 am to the time of sunset. Our bees are limited to the flowers available on the South part of Stromboli, which are predominantly caper flowers and Mediterranean herbal and wild bush flowers. Our summer honey is made 36% from caper flowers, which our bees find both on our lands and on the slope of Stromboli, testimony to Ginostra’s agricultural heritage as an exporter of capers.  

Our bees are Sicilian black bees or Ape Nera Sicula (Apis mellifera siciliana). Descended from an African strain, it was very common in Sicily until the 1970s, and then almost completely abandoned in favor of the Italian bee (Apis mellifera ligustica), which was more suited to commercial apiculture. Thanks to various local initiatives in Sicily the Ape Nera Sicula survived. Costa Mandorla is supporting these efforts for the survival of the Ape Nera Sicula and is exclusively working with the Sicilian black bees.  

As a consequence of the particularities and daily challenges of producing organic food in a natural reserve with no roads, our production is by definition limited and highly labour intensive. Consequently, we decided from the very start that we would make no compromise when it comes to the quality of our organic food.  

With us you are directly buying from the source (we are Costa Mandorla AG, Wollerau, Switzerland and the sister company of Costa Mandorla S.R.L., società Agricola, Ginostra). As the production is limited we are selling our goods on a first come first served basis. In case a product is no longer available we expect it to be available again after next year’s harvest, subject to weather and other conditions (e.g. in July 2019 a massive volcanic eruption destroyed part of our lands and most of our 2019 production; we have learnt to live with this uncertainty and are grateful to Stromboli for naturally fertilising our lands).  

Given the limited availability of our own production we have chosen to also add to our offering a few selected products sourced from Aeolian and Sicilian farming and beekeeper colleagues who work in an artisan way. We can vouch for the quality of these products our colleagues have assembled for us: honey from Citrus plants from the foot of Mount Etna, capers from Lipari and crushed capers from Lipari, an innovation we can highly recommend as a natural spice in lieu of salt and herbs.  

Lava you,

Costa Mandorla