04 Oct

Make sure you pick the right olive oil

By Chef Nino,

There is probably nothing more breathtaking than seeing and participating in olive oil production from the tree to the bottle.

Miles of terraced hillsides are meticulously cultivated with the finest olive trees in the world. Olive trees can reach heights of 50 feet and often live for 500-600 years.

The oldest living olive tree in Europe is in Canneto, Italy. Certified and protected by the European Union, it’s more than 2,000 years old. The olive starts out yellowish green in color, and as it reaches full size, it turns greener.

When fully ripe, most varieties are black or purple-black, but a few turn a shade of copper-brown and some remain green.

Olives are harvested at various stages. For table olives, harvesting is usually done by hand using a fork-like tool that gently removes them from the trees. In Sicily, many families own their own orchards in the countryside and during olive harvest, every family member leaves his or her gainful employment and helps gather the olives.

There is a small window of opportunity to gather every olive in Italy, so the hillsides are covered with workers carrying long. skinny ladders raking olives off the trees and with huge nets spread below the tree catching each delicate olive.

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