St. Francis of Assisi experienced the sacred through creation. He is so associated with plants and animals that statues of St Francis adorn gardens worldwide.
Late in his ministry, St. Francis wrote a song – or canticle – praising creation, describing the attributes of nature with the affinity reserved for siblings, including Brother Sun and Sister Moon, or in Italian, Frate Sole and Sora Luna.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
600 years later…
At Frate Sole Olive Oil Company, respecting our sister Mother Earth is part of our business plan. We do not use artificial chemicals or fertilizers. We plant cover crops to naturally increase the fertility of the soil. And we judiciously irrigate with a drip system. Our orchard has been graded to restore seasonal wetlands. The captured winter runoff provides habitat and replenishes the aquifer; the edges have been planted with native oaks and cottonwoods and willows. It is a place where people – and coyotes and rabbits, hawks and even the occasional snake – are the way God made them.
The olive trees are mostly Tuscan varieties – Frantoio, Leccinio and Pendolino. These are the same varieties dotting the hillsides of Assisi. We also have planted varieties from Spain and France, including Arbequina and Grossane. The fruit is hand-picked or raked from trees into custom-built catchers, and then cold-processed before the sun sets a second time to ensure fresh and flavorful oil.
Our goal is to create a sustainable enterprise that yields healthy and world-class olive oil in a flourishing ecosystem that will be worked and enjoyed by our children’s children. We grant to creation what is creation’s and to tradition what is tradition’s.