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.



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.



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.


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 Undeniable Climate Crisis

Gone are the days when the disturbing pace at which our climate is evolving was an elephant in the room that we didn’t wish to mention.  The past, strange 24 months have surely brought even the most sceptical out of obscurity with constant alarms of flash flooding, wild fires, extreme droughts and excessive temperatures.


Climatic extremes are of massive concern to agriculture and where we live in rural Italy, it’s a palpable sensation.  From the very late and intense freeze this year across central Italy to the wild fires in Sicily and Sardegna over the summer, farmers up and down the country are overflowing with concern.


Reading about the risk that intensive olive farming in Southern Spain is leading to potential desertification confirms to me that we can’t keep asking more of our land without listening more carefully.  The Olive Tree is supremely resilient, it has survived for many thousands of years in the Mediterranean but we need to accept that there will be years when it will give less.  Like all life, the olive tree needs to be respected for shutting down if it gets too hot or too cold, for not bearing fruit if it is unable to sustain its growth, for giving clear signals if it is unhappy.  As our understanding grows of sub-soil communications and how plant life manages to build natural resilience it is surely time to improve our listening, to increase the values we place on organic and sustainable farming practices, to support in particular the smaller farmers who are so conscientious and intuitive to their land.  But there is a number attached to this, and it’s higher than we think. We can’t keep getting more for less.


As we catch up with our growers ahead of the 2021 harvest, we are hearing that the yields are likely to be significantly reduced this year, not least because of the intense summer heat spikes.  The effect of this however has been to concentrate the olives, so whilst it’s still a little too early to call, the likelihood is that intense flavours as well as polyphenolic concentrations will be high.  Many of you will be thrilled to hear that.