THE STORY OF
when I moved to Italy...
......in 2006, little did I know about olives.
The first time ever I steped in our oliveto, I put an olive in my mouth which looked ripe to eat. How was I supposed to know....
Olives, as we know them from our salads and pizza's, have been salted/marinated. Table olives, as we call them, are all handed picked and put under salted water for a couple of months.
After that, you can eat them. Some like to put them under oil with garlic, rosemary and pepers to make a nice apero.
So that was my first introduction with our new olive grow.
That same year in November, it was time to harvest.
But how do you do it?
The former owner of the house had left us some nets in the barn behind the house. So after a good look at the neighbours, we copied their method. I was fortunate to have had friends staying with us at that moment. They enjoyed working in the grow.
Despite our poorly preparations, we managed to get the minimum amount of kilos for the olive press down in the village. So that is how we started making our very first, olive oil.
ABOUT THE OLIVE OIL
Our olive grove is located in Liguria. This region which is also called "Riviera dei Fiori", stretches at the North west coast of Italy and is famous for the superior olive oil it produces. Our three hundred trees are in a favourable microclimate at 250 meters above sea level.
Oil from Olijven & Zo is made from the a small and fruity Taggiasca olive. They are named after the village of its origin.
We do not use any kind of pesticides and all trees are all trimmed and maintained by hand.
Fresh olive oil is bright green and a bit spicy when it just comes from the press.
Therefore the Italians prefer to let it rest for about a month.
I think the taste of fresh olive oil is so unique, that I want to share it with others.
So, I let the oil rest for only a couple of days for the sediment to drop to the bottom of the tank before botteling.
FROM AN OLIVE TO OLIVE OIL
Evenhough, we call it olive picking, the word picking is a bit misleading.
Because it makes you believe that the olives get picked one by one by hand. But this is NOT the case.They do not get handpicked. Instead we beat them out of the tree with bamboo sticks. This beating requires a lot of perseverance and physical effort.Some of the farmers use machines to “shake” the olives out of the tree, others like us, use bamboo sticks.Using bamboo sticks makes it a heavy job to do, but it give a lot of satisfaction.Sometimes, after four days of heavy labor, we crib enviously at our neighbor. He carries his little generator with him and just hold a long stick with in the end a sort of rake, against the branches and it starts raining down olives.
But when the evening falls, while enjoying the a cool glass of pro-secco and we can feel all our muscles hurting, we feel very proud of ourselves and our achievement.