The olive tree is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world and and pressing the olive fruit to produce olive oil or “Liquid Gold”, as it was referred to by Homer in the Iliad, dates back to 3000 BCE in Ancient Greece.
Fast forward to today and while the scale of olive oil production has grown and the equipment used has become far more sophisticated, the same fundamental principles apply – the fruit of the olive tree is harvested, cleaned and then crushed (or pressed) to extract the oil.
But at every step in the process, there are a myriad of factors that can make a world of difference to the flavour and quality of the oil produced – from the variety of olive that’s grown to the way it’s harvested and pressed.
Here, we share the steps we take at Olio Mio Estate to ensure only the highest-quality extra virgin cold pressed olive oil reaches your table.
STEP ONE: GROW
Our mature olive trees grow in the rich loam clay soil of the Hunter Valley, tended and nurtured by the Olio Mio Estate team.
The 25-acre grove on the estate was planted with 2,500 olive trees in 1998 and includes three main varieties – Corregiola and Frantoio (both Italian varieties) and the Nevadillo (a Spanish variety).
Each variety was chosen for its flavour and characteristics when pressed. The Corregiola olive produces an herbaceous, gentle oil, light in flavour and extremely versatile. The Frantoio olive is aromatic and fruity, with a hint of citrus, while the Nevadillo olive, a Spanish variety, delivers robust fruit flavours with a hint of bitterness and pungency.
STEP TWO: HARVEST
A seasonal fruit, our olives are machine harvested each Autumn using proven techniques and specialised equipment.
The Olio Mio Estate team keeps a close eye on our olive trees to ensure the fruit is picked at just the right moment. Harvest time on the estate typically begins in April-May when the trees become burdened with bright green and purple olives. They are harvested using machines that “vibrate” or “shake” the fruit from the tree into trailers, which then transport the olives straight to the estate’s processing plant.
STEP THREE: PRESS
This is where the magic happens! Our olives are cold pressed within 24 hours of harvest to lock in freshness and optimise flavour.
The olive oil production process is carried out right here on the Olio Mio Estate in our state-of-the-art processing plant. There are five key elements in the olive oil extraction process:
- Cleaning. The olives are cleaned to remove stems, leaves, twigs and other debris and then washed with water to remove any dirt or pesticides.
- Crushing. A Crusher (or Mill) is used to crush the whole fruit, including the seed, turning it into paste and releasing the oil.
- Malaxing. The paste is then ‘kneaded’ in the Malaxer at 28oC for 20-45 minutes to allow the droplets of oil to form into bigger ones.
- Extraction. The paste is fed into a Centrifuge (or Decanter) which separates the solids, water and oil using centrifugal force.
- Separation. In the final stage in the refining process, a vertical Separator removes any residue sediment and water from the oil.
The highest grades of olive oil, like Oli Mio Estate’s extra virgin olive oil, are always cold pressed. Cold pressed olive oil is made when the olive fruit stays below 50oC throughout the entire pressing process. Why does it produce better quality olive oil? Because cold pressing helps the oil to retain not only the olive’s flavour but its nutritional value as well (which breaks down with the heat or chemicals often used in mass production processes).
STEP FOUR: BOTTLE
Our oils are unfiltered and allowed to settle in stainless steel vats before being bottled on demand to retain maximum freshness.
The stainless steel vats are kept in an atmosphere-controlled room, free from light and air for between one and two months to allow the sediment to settle. Annually, we produce a premium quality extra virgin cold pressed olive oil which is bottled and packaged on site, ready for delivery to our customers.
Prior to sale, each batch of olive oil is certified under the Australian Code of Practice in order to be classified as extra virgin olive oil.
STEP FIVE: SHARE
Olio Mio Premium Olive Oil finds its way to Australian restaurants, providores and households via our online shop and trade supply arrangements.
Experience the flavour of Olio Mio Premium Olive Oil made from olives grown, pressed and bottled on the estate. Shop online or phone 0477 184 900 to enquire about wholesale or bulk orders for your restaurant, café or store.