Agricultural Activity and Olive Oil
If the countryside life can fascinate you and have an interest in living in close contact with
agricultural works, learning something about pruning and, more generally, about the management of a
vineyard and an olive-grove, or if you want to participate in the olive harvest, you are welcome!
Our family farm is small, it consists roughly of four hectares of vineyard and olive-grove, surrounded by
oak woods. Our lifestyle choices led us to handle our farm according to the methods of organic
agriculture, in order to respect environment and... ourselves. We never joined, however, any board of
control, which are very expensive and useless for our small dimension, we control us by ourselves!
Our farm is small, but we have a lot of work to do! It is a very hard and tiring work governed by the
cycle of seasons and depending upon the vegetative period of plants.
By mid-October the olive harvest begins. That requires many days of work, especially when olives are
In addition, there is a lot of work taking care of the garden, the lawn, the shrubs and the fruit trees,
as well as the tilling of the soil by farm tractor in autumn but above all in spring, when the green
grass grows more luxuriant, trying to change fields into a... jungle!
Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Our extra virgin olive oil is exclusively produced by olives from our
olive-grove: 500 trees, planted by us in 2000 in compliance with the specifications of the oil DOP "Colli
Orvietani" (varieties Moraiolo 15%, Leccino 47%, Frantoio 30%, Pendolino 8%)
Agricultural management of our olive-grove
We cultivate our olive-grove following the principles of organic farming: we do not use neither
herbicides nor pesticides (except those admitted, such as copper), we do not use insecticides for the
olive fly, thanks to the low presence of the parasite in our area and the early harvest, and we do not
use chemical fertilizers: we fertilize the olive grove by the green manure of broad bean, a leguminous
plant with excellent fertilizing characteristics and chop the spontaneous lawn and olive pruning instead
of burning it on place.
DOP and organic certifications have high economic and bureaucratic costs that we, with such a small
production of oil, can not afford. That is why our oil has no certification: ourselves certify our oil,
in the meaning that we try to establish a direct relationship of trust with customers, so we're happy if
you come to visit our farm. Direct knowledge of the producer and the place of production is the best
guarantee that you may have!
The harvest is a key moment to get a high quality oil. The olives must be intact and dry, and must be
carried to the mill as soon as possible; if the olives are wet, crushed, pressed-up for several days
before being carried to the mill will begin a process of fermentation and oxidation that compromises the
nutritional and organoleptic quality of oil.
Unfortunately is still not unusual to see farmers collecting olives that are still wet from rain or from
a dense fog, using large plastic bags where the olives, stacked and crushed, ferment and become mouldy
before arriving at the mill.
Here the key points for a correct collection:
- harvest as soon as the olives are half-ripe, that means half green and half black
- The olives must be dry
- Use airy boxes with olives thickness no more than 30 cm
- bring the olives to the mill within 24 hours from harvest
Traditionally, the olive harvest is made out of time because the very ripe olives lose water on the plant
so that the farmer has a larger oil yield, and thus more gain.
Fortunately, the farmers and mills are beginning to understand that to get a quality oil must anticipate
the harvest: the quality of olives is highest at the beginning of ripening when about half of the olives
changes colour from green to black (invaiatura, in Italian) and not completely ripe. Moreover, the early
harvest allows to limit the damage caused by the olive fly in years in which the parasite, whose activity
extends throughout the autumn, is more numerous.
We start harvesting olives by mid-October; we harvest with the help of pneumatic vibrating combs that
make the olives fall on large nets spread under the trees. Contrary to what you hear, the olives are not
ruining more than the manual harvesting.
Instead, a detail that is often neglected is that stepping fallen olives before removing them from the
nets while you are harvesting is a big damage. You must take particular care where you put your feet if
you do not want to make an olive jam already on the field!
Finally we put the olives from the nets immediately in airy boxes that we bring ourselves to the mill
within 24 hours.
We bring our olives to Cecci mill in Monterubiaglio where we personally follow the entire extraction
process. The Cecci mill works the olives in a modern, new continuous cycle plant by "Rapanelli". After
defoliation, washing and crashing of olives, the oil is cold extracted by centrifugation process and
by Sinolea method (extraction for dripping)
The work cycle of the mill allows to obtain oil only from your own olives, without mixing them with those
of other farmers.
After putting the oil in stainless steel containers of 50 liters, finally we brought it
Keep in time the organoleptic and nutritional quality of oil is not difficult, but it needs to respect
- The oil should be stored in a dark and cool room
- must not be in contact with the air
- must be stored only in stainless steel or in glass
The oil, kept warm, in the sunlight and in contact with air, undergoes a process of transformation and
oxidation which increases the acidity and decreases the polyphenols, the well-known natural antioxidants
in the olive oil.
We keep the oil exclusively in stainless steel containers that are never opened, in a cellar at a
constant temperature of about 16 °C, and we bottle it just when we use it.
Therefore we recommend to use aluminum cans only during transport, and transfer the oil at home into
glass or stainless steel.
The new oil makes deposits on the bottom of the container, do not worry!
The new oil, by its nature, is green-yellow colored and opaque and preserves this characteristic for
several months, but when time pass by it becomes clearer, transparent and less intense color.
Even the flavor changes over time: a stronger taste, pungent, slightly bitter and fruity (excellent for
eating raw), while a one year old olive oil will lose much of the aromas, spicy and body (and the
polyphenols) and becomes an oil still good but with neutral taste, excellent for cooking.
In the Portal of Italian Oil Mills, you will find lots of
interesting informations for those who want to have a culture on olive oil, its production cycle, market