MODERN METHODS: HIGH DENSITY PLANTING & MACHINE HARVESTING

O-live November, 2017

The Olisur estate is located in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, where the microclimate mirrors Italy’s Mediterranean climate, and currently produces ten varieties of olives across 6,500 acres. Olisur’s olive trees are planted in eco-friendly high-density rows, allowing more trees to be grown per acre, and more olives to be harvested each season. While many Italian olive farms continue to rely on hand harvesting, Olisur’s olives are mechanically harvested at the peak of ripeness, minimizing handling and deterring oxidation. In recent years, some olive farms in Spain have begun shifting to this contemporary mechanical means of harvesting. Once harvested, Olisur’s olives don’t have to travel far to be pressed, as the state-of-the-art mill stands at the heart of the estate. Because the olives are fresher when they are pressed and never reach a temperature above 80°F, fewer fatty acids are released, resulting in a low 0.2% free fatty acid (FFA) level in the oil.

This FFA level, or acidity level, is well below the maximum limit of 0.8% set by the International Olive Council (IOC), an acidity quality standard for any olive oil labeled “extra virgin.” A higher acidity level, particularly one above .5%, can result in defects in the EVOO, which is evident in a musty odor and metallic taste. The very low FFA value of Olisur’s oils ensures no defects negatively impact the taste and freshness of the oil. In addition to resulting in the freshest flavor for the consumer, Olisur’s low FFA means a higher flash point and a potentially longer shelf life.

 

Once the ripe olives have been pressed, the fresh oil is stored in a hermetically sealed high-tech storage system to retain that level of freshness. The oil is then bottled immediately before being shipped worldwide.

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