We take pride in making sure that our olives have a ‘natural’ olive taste and texture, unlike supermarket olives. This is mainly down to our traditional pickling techniques. Simply put we do not use any chemicals to hasten the process of ‘producing’ black olives. Our natural ‘Sicilian method’ of pickling means they are in a simple natural brine for at least 12 months, generally more, before being ready for bottling.
Harvesting in late Autumn is predominantly done by hand with some assistance from hand and mechanical rakes on larger trees as needed. Each trees harvest is weighed so that we can monitor how the individual trees are performing each season. Mechanical tree shakers (used for olives grown for oil) are not used. This ensures our table olives are not bruised.
On the day of harvesting the olives are washed, leaves and stalks removed and then placed in a 10% brine pickling solution. They remain in this solution for at least 12 months and are inspected and tested for correct brine and PH levels every few months. During this natural processing the green ripe olives turn a lovely khaki colour. Our black (fully ripe) olives have a softer flesh and slightly milder flavour.
Bottling of our table olives is done by hand. When opening a new pickling barrel for bottling we first taste to make sure the olives are fully ‘de-bittered’ and with a lovely balanced olive taste. After sterilising the bottles and lids we fill them with olives and then utilise the mature pickling brine as the packing medium. This ensures the wonderful flavours of the pickling process are captured in our bottled olives.
A mixture of art and science. The aim is to maximise sunlight and air circulation getting to the olive bearing branches. That’s the science. Trying to foresee how the tree will grow its branches and produce olives over the next one, two and three years is the art and difficult for the untrained eye!
Producing Pure Olive Paste
When the green olives are fully de-bittered we select the smaller ones and utilise them for our Pure Olive Paste. We wash them, remove the pits and crush the flesh into a paste. Into sterilized bottles and caps it goes with nothing else, just Pure Olive Paste! We then pasteurise the bottles, then label and they are ready for sale.
In 2016 we were fortunate to stay in an Italian olive grove in the heart of Tuscany where Rob got ‘hands on’ tuition from an Italian pruning master.