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)

Frantoi - Frantoio

Your olive oil is being milled: what is actually happening?

The milling season is an incredibly intense period for the good people we work with – they tend to work an 18 hour day, seven days per week and for at least two months, ensuring the fruit is flawless, is taken quickly to the mill, and then transformed in to our favourite juice.  There are pitfalls all the way, and they have to be extremely careful at every stage.

In the groves so far the focus has been on the agriculture, but now it’s on the picking.   Our producers all pick green olives to guarantee the highest quality oil, but the phenolic ripeness needs to be there and this is a fine point, the optimum picking window is a matter of days.  Producers need to consider the weather carefully: you can’t pick if it’s raining (currently a big problem in the North of Italy), conversely warmer weather at this point in the year encourages the dreaded fly that damages the fruit. If the latter happens top quality producers will not use that fruit, because it makes rancid olive oil – all reasons why you need to know where your oil comes from. Lastly they need to consider the time it takes for olives to be picked and taken to the frantoio to be milled – ideally within 4 hours, never more than 8 hours, because otherwise the fruit starts to oxidise.  Considering a medium sized producer might have ten thousand trees, this is a very complex operation in terms of timing and health of the fruit, because what is actually happening in the mill is also crucial.

Before picking starts all machinery in the frantoio in checked, cleaned and tested to ensured it is ready to go.  When the olives arrive they are passed through the following processes, each of which has a different machine:

  1. De-leafing and washing
  2. Milling: This when olives (stones and skins and all) are actually crushed making a pulp.
  3. Malaxing: The paste is passed through a machine which slowly turns the pulp continuously  coaxing out droplets of oil from the cell membranes of the olives.
  4. Separating the various parts of the pulp: oil, water and solids.
  5. Filtering the oil.

During all these steps the miller can intervene to adjust the heat, pace and different filters, thus showing their skills and adding their magic to the final product.

As the various stages of processing are going on, new olives arrive from the groves, and the pickers start on new trees, and so it goes for about 2 to 3 months with only a few hours to rest each day.

We wish everyone we work with masses of strength, fine weather and good fortune for the exciting weeks ahead.