Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bronte: The Pistachio Supply Chain

Okay, I have one more supply chain story from my recent vacation in Sicily. Bronte is a town of 20,000 located towards the center of Sicily in the shadows of Mt. Etna, an active volcano. Comparatively speaking Bronte doesn't have much going for it. You won't find any quaint cobblestone streets or flowers hanging from windows. What you will find are narrow roads made of black volcanic stone along with many of the cathedrals and buildings and lots and lots of pistachios. Actually, on the way into the city you are greeted with a sign that reads (translated) "Welcome to the city of Pistachios". Bronte actually supplies 1 percent of the world supply.

Harvested every other year, Sicilian pistachios are slightly longer and thinner than those grown in the Middle East. They also seem to have a stronger, sharper taste, due perhaps in part to the volcanic soil in which they're grown. But with its narrow roads, lack of a major transportation system, how do these little gems get out to the rest of the world?

Unfortunately, it wasn't the harvest year, so I didn't get a chance to speak with any locals or witness the supply chain. But I did some research and apparently they employ the innovative strategy of "piggybacking" to export the nuts. Since much of the area is dedicated to agriculture and cheese making and since the harvesting schedule is similar, the farmers have formed a cooperative, where they combine all of their goods to ship at once. So for example and importer can buy pistachios from Guiseppe and cheese from Paulo, keeping logistics costs low and making it easier for the buyer. This is same technique is used by many niche food producers in the US that ship to supermarkets. Maybe I didn't give this town the credit it deserves.

6 comments:

Christopher Sciacca said...

If you want to order Bronte pistachios they are available online here http://www.kalustyans.com

Christopher Sciacca said...

Here is another site to order from
http://www.buonitalia.com

root said...

Direct sale of bronte pistachios
here

root said...

If you'd like to buy directly from growers try this

root said...

If you'd like to buy directly from growers try this

Silvio Scilletta said...

I think that the best sicilian pistachio is on Sicily Shop www.sicilyshop.com i always buy here.