Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil healthy for you?
Extra-virgin Olive Oil and Organic Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted using exclusively mechanical and physical methods. Its organoleptic attributes, flavor and fragrance make it the highest quality of all the oils, while the extraction methods used to obtain it do not alter its unique chemical properties because no substances are added and the oil is not refined.
However, you can’t just focus on quality. You also have to consider how sustainable the oil is in terms of how the olives are grown and what agricultural methods are used in general.
But… does extra-virgin olive oil play a big enough role in combatting the climate change we are facing worldwide?
In recent years, people have been becoming increasingly aware of the growing need for a more sustainable approach – especially in agriculture.
Climate change is becoming a greater and greater challenge for agriculture because agricultural activities are deeply influenced by climate change and climate change is deeply influenced by the agricultural industry.
Therefore, we must foster the green transition through healthy, environmentally friendly, local development.
It is crucial to try to do more for the environment in each phase of the olive growing process, especially in the everyday care of the olive trees.
Each aspect of the olive-growing process is essential to the olive harvest and impacts olive production, quantity and quality, in addition to reducing costs.
The various aspects of olive growing include working the land, planting cover crops to control weeds, fertilization, irrigation and leaf treatment.
In organic agriculture, you create or strengthen a balanced agrosystem.
In the beginning, natural methods are used in agriculture. However, the goal is to minimize the need for human intervention on the soil and trees.
Before and after planting
When you plant an olive grove, you need to pay careful attention to water and light availability in order to facilitate olive growing in the area.
Before planting, the first step is to do a physical and chemical soil test to find out what steps need to be taken before planting.
In organic agriculture, it is very important to ensure there is enough organic matter by periodically incorporating it in order to effectively build humus.
The best way to improve the soil is to add manure, which naturally must come from livestock raised according to the standards of organic agriculture.
Another way to improve the soil organically is by using compost created from the aerobic transformation of biomass like olive pomace, hay, pruning residue and so on.
The goal is to optimize the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the oil. This is why it is essential to use organic matter from animal or plant sources.
It is important to use low-impact methods to work the land and avoid using equipment that disturbs the soil. This helps prevent root damage that could lead to infection.
Cover crops help prevent early soil erosion, allow the fields to be accessed at any time, thereby facilitating harvest, increase the amount of organic matter in the soil considerably and help transport more nutrients from the surface of the soil down to the roots.
Traditional agricultural methods used various kinds of weed killers to keep weeds down, resulting the absorption of harmful substances by the soil.
The goal of fertilization is to amend the soil and check whether the soil contains the proper amount of:
When we talked about planting, we mentioned that, in organic olive growing, manure and compost made only from plant and animal sources are the main fertilizers.
The soil needs to be fertilized periodically, especially in autumn and winter.
Olive trees should be pruned early on in order to provide them with the proper shape. After this, they are pruned every year in the spring.
It is essential to do just the right amount of pruning. Hard pruning will reduce olive yield, whereas light pruning will cause the olives to be shaded, creating conditions that attract pests.
Trees need to be pruned to the proper shape so that no further intervention will be needed in the future.
Olive trees should not be irrigated in autumn and winter. In the summer months, drip irrigation is the best method because it does not waste water. Cover crops are planted to boost soil moisture by trapping water droplets and protecting the soil from direct sunlight at the hottest time of the year.
Protecting the crop
In organic agriculture it is crucial to ensure conditions that provide maximum protection against attack by harmful organisms.
Therefore, olive growers need to know and understand what pests live in their growing area so they can adopt the best methods to limit possible pest damage.
In recent years, there is one pest that has been attacking olive fruit and putting growers to the test: the olive fruit fly. Olive fruit fly damage causes the olives to rot prematurely.
Growers are trying a variety of – even experimental – methods to combat them.
One treatment that has been approved for use in organic agriculture is Spintor-Fly (a protein bait to control olive fruit flies). It helps limit application times, water overconsumption and high distribution costs.
Proper equipment maintenance and packaging disposal
All equipment must be washed carefully to prevent toxic substances from being released into the soil and the dirty water must be collected and taken to a waste disposal facility.
All agricultural pharmaceuticals, various types of packaging and other special materials need to be disposed of at special waste disposal facilities.
This may seem obvious, but it isn’t! When these two things are not done properly, agriculture becomes a major source of environmental pollution.
Olives should be harvested at the start of the ripening phase before possible damage by rain, cold or sleet, and to avoid significant pest damage.
This helps prevent waste and leads to higher quality oil.
The Olive Press
To obtain extra-virgin olive oil, the olives must be cold pressed using mechanical methods. However, it is also essential to reuse of olive by-products.
Olive pomace (the residue remaining after the olives are pressed) can be used to fertilize the soil in the olive groves. As for the olive pits, experiments are being done on new, innovative ways to use them.
For example, the ground pits have been used as filler in building materials.
Conservation and Packaging
The materials used in conservation and packaging are also important in organic production.
For example, there are a variety of benefits to using stainless steel bottles to store and conserve oil. Stainless steel:
- preserves oil quality
- lasts a long time, can be reused, is made using recycled materials and is 100% recyclable.
When you choose organic extra-virgin olive oil, you aren’t just choosing an extremely high-quality product. You are also deciding that the environment deserves to be protected. It means that you understand how every little thing we do has value and it is precisely these little things than can make a big difference and effect big change.
Embrace sustainability. Help safeguard nature. GO ORGANIC!