Anne's Blog

Umbria’s Prized Olive Oil: the Perfect Christmas Gift

Date: December 12, 2020 - categories: , , , - 1 Comment

Why not give gold as a gift this year? “Liquid gold”: Extra-virgin olive oil of Umbria, “Italy’s green heart.”

Our son Keegan is offering you some of the best, an olive oil made with organic olives harvested by him with friends, Gigi and Leonardo.  You can see the “olive-harvesting” trio here:
Let Keegan tell you all about the extraordinary  liquid gold:

Friends and I are now selling the 2020 Extra-virgin olive oil of Umbria.…..The 2020/2021 prices are:
– 22 EUR for a one-liter aluminum canister;
– 18 EUR for 0,75-liter aluminum bottle (handier, with less dripping when pouring).
Shipping is not included. The shipping costs per bottle/liter will depend on the size of the order: the larger the order, the lower the cost. Once you have an idea of the bottles to be shipped, I can send you a precise estimate.
News on the olive-harvesting and olive-production:
The olive groves are all located in the Orvieto area, most of them in Umbria and one in Lazio, on the slopes facing lake Bolsena.  We harvested the olives on a total of over 1400 tress, most of which are survivors of the infamous winter frost of 1956.
The principal olive cultivars (varieties) are leccinomoraiolofrantoio and canino. Several other minor varieties are dispersed within the groves, planted primarily because they are very good pollinators for the varieties listed above.
Close to 700 olive varieties have been counted in Italy (over 25% of the ones recognized worldwide), testifying to Italy’s exceptional ago-biodiversity.
In these groves, no pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used.
Pruning is done manually between February and April. The larger pieces of wood are collected for firewood while the smaller twigs and branches are shredded together with the grass and weeds growing underneath the tress and left on the ground to enrich the soil. No tillage is done to avoid disrupting the soil and the cover grass carpet.
Harvesting is done manually in October and November using portable electric shaker rakes to rake the olives on to nets placed around the trees.
The olives are then loaded into crates and delivered to the local olive oil mill…..…..where they are washed, defoliated and cold pressed (below 27 degrees C.) within 24 hours from harvesting, before the onset of fermentation and oxidation processes.
The olive oil is then stored in stainless steel containers to settle before it’s bottled.
Harvesting healthy olives before they are over-ripe  (renouncing to higher oil yields) and cold-pressing (again renouncing to higher yields) within 24 hours from harvest ensures that the olive oil is a high quality extra-virgin.
To be classified as extra-virgin, olive oil has to meet many phisico-chemical and orgonoleptic quality parameters, including: acidity (% oleic acid) lower or equal to 0.8%, absence of sensory defects (fusty, muddy, winey-vinegary, rancid, etc..),  and presence of the positive, fruity attribute.
This year’s harvest has been unique in two ways: abundance of exceptionally healthy olives (no signs of fruit fly larvae, rarely happens) but exceptionally low oil yields (3-5% lower than standard): we started off in mid October with yields around 8-9 % (8-9 kg of oil per 100 kg of olives) and ended up in late November (as fruit ripening progresses the oil/water ration in the pulp increases) with yields rarely higher than 12%. The olive oil is thus not very abundant but of great quality.
This year, due to the pandemic and lack of guiding work, I’ve been collaborating with friends on the pruning and harvesting and I’ve followed the whole farming cycle from February  to now. After this experience and having managed for a few years the 35 olive tress surrounding our own farmhouse here near Orvieto, I’m working now on starting my own project to save old, traditional olive groves from oblivion.”
Keegan is a hard worker, passionate about olive cultivation, olive production.  The olive oil he and his friends are selling is absolutely top quality.
Do feel free to write Keegan directly if you might wish to order olive oil – what a perfect Christmas gift!- or might have any questions.  His email:
Click here to see my video on Umbria’s Liquid Gold: Olive Oil – Part I
Click here to see my video on Umbria’s Liquid Gold: Olive Oil-  Part 2

1 Comment

  • Janet Eidem says:

    Nice to hear about the quality of the olive oil this year. Keegan’s energy for saving the olive trees is very impressive. Good for him! Congratulations mom and dad!!!

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)