What makes our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Premium?
Updated: Mar 19, 2022
Simple answer here is Love and Care for every single tree we have.
As we all know, olive oil is extremely good for your health but not all oils are equally good, everything depends on how you care for your trees.
I want to touch on the few elements which directly impact the quality of your oil and therefore health qualities.
Most of the blogs I see around focus mainly on the harvest and extraction. By far it's the most exciting part as you can see the fruit of your labor ready to be harvested. But there is so much more going on behind the scene.
We begin with the location of your groves, some of you may know that the olive tree is pollinated by the wind mainly. The insect pollination is very minimal, therefore how your field is located means a lot, as in some cases pollen has been found to travel up to 10 kilometers. Our most prestigious field " Rakana" is located in a foot of the rocky hill with one side of the field facing the rocks in its full length and on the other side open space with neighboring fields stretching until horizon, allowing our field to get lots of incoming pollen to our flowers which in return produce beautiful fruit full of flavors. Another important aspect here is water supply. With the rocky hill on the side we are in constant supply of water, drained through that rocks gaining all necessary minerals on its way to a deep rooting system.
Knowledge base: Olive tree posses two main rooting systems. One which is a deep roots, it goes down in to great depths in a search of water and nutrients. As it stretches long distance, it takes long time to transport this food back to the tree, that is why Olive tree has developed secondary rooting system, which is a shallow roots around 20-40 cm below the surface of the ground. This rooting system covers much bigger area around the tree and sucks in most of the food and water for the tree from the surface of the field, delivering it much faster to the tree itself.
Fertilization one of the most overlooked aspect in my opinion. Most of producers will fertilize once a year in a very traditional way of dropping standard fertilizer in one spot next to the tree. We fertilize quite differently. Firstly, we test our trees for the nutrition values which are stored in the leaves of the tree so we exactly know what our tree needs (samples of the leaves are taken in July every year and send for analyses to a lab). We only use organic fertilizers, after the olive collections which normally end beginning of December. With exception of few types of olive trees, the tree is going to sleep, where it can recover its strength and reset its biological clock. This is driven by dropping air and soil temperature, tree will remain asleep until the temperatures rise again above 17C. That is the time when we do our first fertilization. Compare that to getting up after solid night of sleep, the first thing you do is to get some food. Tree is no different, first we lay an organic fertilizer all over the ground, as the olive tree posses shallow rooting system for quick feeding which is just around 20-40 cm under the layer of ground and spreads many meters around the tree. This is the first boost and as it is still a rainy season, we leave the trees to revive themselves in that manner. Then we wait until flowering starts and at that time we cut the grass around the trees using hand tools (no tractors as they can damage the shallow roots) to lay some nutrients back to the soil. On the top of that we lay a layer of olive tree leaves which we collect at the time of harvest and fertilize through the winter. Once the fruit shows up we then supply some sheep manure and all that is left through to the next harvesting season. Creating the layers of the compost we also protect the soil from the scorching summers we have and minimize the evaporation of the water which helps us keep our trees hydrated through the summer season.
Pruning, except for the traditional pruning which happens during the harvest and then at the start of the spring, we continue to prune so called "suckers" which are the grows of the on-shoots of the tree coming from the trunk and lower levels of the tree. We cut them off on a weekly basis as they use the energy which otherwise would be transferred to the branches and leaves which in return produce a beautiful fruit. We also methodically prune outgoing branches and model our tree through the season to control the distribution of that energy through the whole tree.
Harvest, is probably one of the most important parts in influencing the quality of your oil and physically it's the hardest one as well...at least in the way we harvest, as we pick our olives without the help of any mechanical instruments. We believe that all mechanical tools are actually bruising the fruit in due process causing it to bitter faster and directly impact the end result which is the oil. All our olives are hand picked using traditional technics. Olives are then transported to the mill and the oil is extracted the same day.
Extraction. It is a key to have a trusted mill, one with years of experience in extracting the oil. It is not as simple as pressing the button and running your olives through the chain of machinery which does everything for you. I can tell you that the way the machines are operated, set up and run on the daily basis means a lot for the quality of your oil.
So let's start with washing the olives, good mill will change the water every few runs, kind of common sense here plays the role if the water looks dirty change it. It is unrealistic for the mill to use running water in those machines the negative environmental footprint would be massive, so don't let anyone tell you that their mill uses running water. After a good wash olives travel up to the crasher, after they are crashed olives change the rotating containers from one to another on several occasions before getting finally to an extractor which separates water, juice and mashed fruit from your Oil!! The moment you have been waiting for and worked for is finally here!!! It is the most beautiful time when that green/yellow/gold like liquid comes out, the smell of it and the taste of the freshly squeezed oil, nothing compares to that.
Storing is, last but not least, a crucial part in the quality of the extra virgin olive oil. We are storing our EVOO in dark, cool and dry place, away from heat and light. Our olive oil stainless still containers ensures us that it stays airtight so that the oil won't oxidize within the container. The same rule applies on the time of the packaging, with our ceramic bottles and cork top best keeping the olive oil in perfect conditions.
For all of the above, and our personal and daily effort and care of our olive trees and olive oil, we are so proudly offering our exceptional Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments and I will do my best to answer.