As we reach a little more than half way between the olive harvest seasons, we thought it might be appropriate to discuss the extra steps we take to ensure your IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil is kept fresh ALL year until the next harvest season.
There is a huge difference between the olive oil produced by IL DIVINO and that produced by giant multi-national corporations. While our very small size puts us at a disadvantage with respect to global exposure and advertising budgets, the number of steps we take to ensure the quality of our oil until it reaches your home, compared to these huge corporations, are very significant.
In past blogs we have talked about the importance of early harvest to maximize the polyphenol content of our oil resulting in a much healthier dietary supplement. This is much different than large corporation that wait late into the harvest season to maximize the oil content of the olives while sacrificing the quality of the oil.
We have also previously discussed the importance of cold-pressing the olives within 24 hours of harvest to prevent any decay and oxidation of the olive oil in the olives. Again, this compares to some of the largest olive oil producers that receive their olives from all over the world prior to pressing. This time delay between harvest and pressing, often weeks or even months, results in sever spoilage of the olive fruit before it gets to the pressing factories used by these large corporations.
All of this results in olive oils which may taste very similar to the average consumer, but which have hugely different health profiles, the main reason why we love extra virgin olive oil.
Today we want to talk about one extra step we take at IL DIVINO to ensure your olive oil stays as fresh as possible throughout the entire year from harvest to harvest.
When you visit large corporate olive oil manufacturing sites, you see huge bottling machines putting the pressed oil into bottles (hopefully dark colored) for transport to either their storage warehouses or into semis to destinations worldwide.
The key point in today’s blog is the following. This potentially sub-quality oil is bottled often days, weeks or months after harvest then sits for months and months until some unsuspecting customer buys it at the local grocery store. During this time the bottled oil sits in potentially hot warehouses and trucks with the oil exposed to light coming into the bottles and the air right above the oil in the bottle. These months and months of exposure further degrades the oil through the oxidative effects of light and air on the oil.
So how is IL DIVINO different?
We have discussed previously the steps we take to harvest early and cold-press immediately in Tuscany. What we have not discussed before is what happens to our precious olive oil from the time it is pressed until it arrives at your front door.
At our olive mill in Tuscany, fresh pressed olive oil is immediately placed in stainless steel fustis. If you are not familiar with this word, a fusti is a large stainless-steel round cylinder container with an air-tight top closure and a small spout (see video). Stainless steel is perfect for quality olive oil because there is absolutely no reaction between the stainless steel and the olive oil. The fusti also provides a completely dark environment so no oxidation due to light can occur. The one final step we take is to introduce inert Argon gas into the headspace above the olive oil in the fustis to absolutely ensure no oxygen comes in contact with our amazing extra virgin olive oil.
While we would love to stay in Tuscany all year long waiting for your orders, our children and grandchildren much prefer us to be here in San Diego. So following harvest, pressing, and storage in fustis, we immediately ship each year’s olive oil here to San Diego by air where it is stored in our stainless steel fustis, in a temperature controlled environment (between 65 – 75) until about a month before we ship to your homes.
Between our retail outlet needs, our subscriptions, and the new customer orders we receive each month, we are able to calculate the number of bottles we will need to fill each month. When the time comes our super dark IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottles are filled, head-space inert gas added, then sealed, often less than a week before your order arrives at your home.
All of these steps go toward providing you the absolute highest quality Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s a lot of work compared to what is done by big commercial producers. However, when we were first introduced to fresh-pressed Italian extra virgin olive oil over 10 years ago while living in Caprese Michelangelo in Tuscany, Italy, we knew our USA customers needed to experience just exactly what fresh-pressed Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil tastes like. Our dedication to bringing this amazing gift of nature to you continues.