Beneath the Jordanian sun, and above artesian wells feeding still reservoirs, 185,000 olive trees are growing. Here, since the turn of the century, the farm’s owner Ziad Bilbeisi has presided over some of the Middle East’s highest quality olive oil. Having slowly refined his processes – tilting the plants to follow the sun, importing a small press from Italy – today, Onsuri is earning a reputation as a world-class, truly remarkable oil, bringing the Bilbeisi farm’s exceptional produce to Michelin chefs and connoisseurs around the globe.
Onsuri olive oil is made to the highest standards of quality and sustainability according to traditional European processes. Four varieties, all extra virgin and pressed within an hour of picking, span Greek, Spanish and Jordanian fruits cultivated at the heart of the Fertile Crescent. A model of sustainable, ethical production, in harmony with plant, land and community, elevates Onsuri from ‘special’ to unique; with fruit tenderly propagated across generations, the farm’s seasonal workers often include Syrian refugees as well as locals.
While many families in Jordan maintain small clutches of trees for personal use, the country’s olive oil was largely below the industry radar until Bilbeisi spotted a gap in the market after returning from London in 2000. Now supported by his four children, Bilbeisi’s growing business maintains all the integrity of his early visions at a scale befitting an international stage.
Winning Gold at the 2020 Japan Olive Oil Prize, and supplying restaurants and private clients across the Middle East, Onsuri olive oil has long been sold white-label to Michelin starred establishments. Seeking to bring the extraordinary produce of the farm to a wider audience, Onsuri’s ethos can be read in its name. Water and sun, earth and time, are at the very heart of the process – from planting to harvest to press. Elemental: as it should be.
The Onsuri Vision
Onsuri is built on an intimate understanding of the olive oil industry and a hunger to revitalise it. It is our belief in sustainability that makes for a business in real harmony with head and heart; planet-friendly choices should be a simple pleasure, and Onsuri strives to ignite that potential in kitchens around the world.
Working hand in hand with the visionary Jordanian family, our olives are grown from some of Europe’s most lauded varieties in the Fertile Crescent. At Onsuri we take pride in making olive oil which benefits the body as much as our community of growers: soon to be certified vegan and organic, just two tablespoons per day of the farm’s high phenolic oil contributes to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. That sounds complicated, but it comes naturally.
Rising like an oasis from the surrounding desert, the single-estate family farm is fed by natural artisan wells and employs Syrian and Iraqi refugees as well as locals to tend its 185,000 olive trees over 120 hectares. Here, processes are as pure as possible; cars stop at the farm’s gates; fallen leaves and branches are composted and returned to the soil; solar panels provide most of the farm’s energy, and all water from its press is recycled into the cultivation of its award-winning olives – once picked, they’re pressed within the hour.
Water and sun, earth and time: in a world which often pits profit against quality, that’s a formula more radical than it might sound. Launching with four extra virgin varieties – aromatic Arbequina, full-bodied Arbosana, ‘King of olives’ Koroneiki and a blended mix – available in one litre tins, Onsuri is the definition of delicacy. First Dawn is made with Koroneki olives from the year’s first harvest. Picked by hand as the sun rises, First Dawn promises purity, robustness and extraordinary depth of flavour.