WHY CHOOSE ITALIAN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (ORGANIC & BIODYNAMIC PLEASE)
Italy is the second producer of olive oil in the world after Spain in terms of quantity. What about quality? In Italy traditional olive farming is more common and 20% of the production is organic versus 8% in Spain.
Traditional olive farming vs intensive / super intensive
In traditional olive farming a tree has a higher yield but there are less trees per hectare hence a lower yield per hectare. For this reason, traditional olive farming is considered a not so appealing business choice compared to intensive and super intensive, especially the latter which has been invented and implemented in Spain and only works with certain Spanish varieties.
Our producers choose a lower density of trees as they believe that trees are going to be healthier, have a longer life and produce nutrient dense olives. These are not priorities for farmers practicing intensive / super intensive olive farming, where trees have a life-span of 15/40 years. For our producers instead, who have been farming olive trees for generations and deal with centuries-old trees, it is important to maintain them in good health. The olive groves where we source our organic and biodynamic extra virgin olive oil, are part of our precious agricultural heritage recognised by FAO. In fact, the area where our organic and biodynamic extra virgin olive oils come from, is a GIAHS, a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System. Something unique that deserves to be protected by any form of "colonisation".
Might the quality of the olives and therefore of the olive oil coming from intensive / super intensive be the same at the end? Hard to find out as our producers test their green gold in a lab every harvest and the supply chain is so short that you can see the lab tests on request. Intensive and super intensive usually have a longer chain and tests are not so easily obtainable. Last but not the least, we believe in a holistic approach to farming, so manipulating nature with implanted olive groves made of lines of small young trees close to each other, with a life expectancy of no more than 40 years, is not exactly our choice.
We know that in Spain and Greece there are a few excellent productions of extra virgin olive oil, but in Italy there seem to be a higher attention to quality. There are 43 PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin, a certification protecting the quality of local productions) versus 27 in Greece and 26 in Spain. In Italy small productions remain strong despite being less competitive on the high street market. 20% of Italian extra virgin olive oil is organic versus 8% in Spain.
Said that, we don’t feel in the position to guarantee for Italian extra virgin olive oil as a whole, but what we do is to select small organic and biodynamic producers of extra virgin olive oil with an outstanding product, tested in a lab and single estate (every oil comes from a single producer and is extracted a couple of miles away from the olive grove and is not a collection of oils from different farms, bottled in a factory). Our organic and biodynamic extra virgin olive oil is produced in the respect of the environment and with the support of nature , enhancing its natural potential without forcing it beyond its limits. This is what we stand for: working in harmony with Nature, enhancing the vitality of the soil, nurturing biodiversity and finally, obtaining a superb product that overall has a positive impact on the environment and on the sociocultural context where it is produced.
Have a look at this 6 minutes documentary, "Brands For Change" by Sustainable Wonders:
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