LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

The growing season : What happens in the grove? | Frantoi
Managing your olive grove is a personal matter – we have seen examples of many different methods and varying levels of dedication. What it comes down to for us is attention to detail – those that make the very best extra virgin olive oil tend to be the same people who put the most effort in to caring for their olive trees.
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Frantoi - olive picking

The growing season : What happens in the grove?

Managing your olive grove is a personal matter – we have seen examples of many different methods and varying levels of dedication. What it comes down to for us is attention to detail – those that make the very best extra virgin olive oil tend to be the same people who put the most effort in to caring for their olive trees. As such, described below is our ‘model’ growing season and that employed by each producer we work with.

 

Winter

In order to initiate flowers and fruit, olive trees need a 2 month period of cold weather (below 10°C), prolonged cold below 7.5°C can inhibit fruit production, so this is why Mediterranean climates work best. Following the cold spell, typically the tree is pruned (tends to be February in Italy) – it is time consuming and can therefore be costly but it’s an essential part of keeping the tree productive and healthy. Over pruning does however prevent fruiting.

 

Spring

Growing more than one cultivar encourages cross-pollination and usually improves the yield but olives are self-fertile so it’s not essential. During the spring the trees need rain to aid fruit production. Fruit is produced at the tip of the previous year’s growth so you are always thinking a year ahead when it comes to pruning. There is most risk of disease during damp weather so diligent checking for pests and disease is imperative.

 

Summer

During the summer crop thinning is often required to ensure the fruit ripens evenly and doesn’t drop prematurely. The best farmers keep a constant eye on their trees over the summer to ensure they are healthy and not in need of anything.

 

Autumn

Harvest begins at the beginning of Autumn when the olives are still green. Typically this is in the first half of October in Italy depending on the cultivar. As with all fruit, the second it is off the tree it begins to decline in quality, so it’s a race to get the fruit to the frantoio to preserve all of its greatest qualities. Frantoio Viola for example guarantees a maximum of 4 hours from tree to frantoio – this is an outstanding achievement and I’m sure is unsurpassed in the world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.