Every year in Tuscany Italians harvest the extra virgin olive oil from the middle of October to November even to mid-December depending on the rain and amount of sunshine during the growing season. This is a very beautiful time of year on the countryside and the process is very interesting. There are week long celebrations at many of the farms as everyone comes together to harvest the olives.
The reason the olive oil in the Tuscan region is so famous is that it has a higher polyphenol level. This give the famous peppery and “green-just cut grass” flavor.
Our farmers must pick the grapes before the winter freeze. The olives are still green and purple, which gives the oil a more pungent taste.
There are many varieties of olives in Tuscany, such as Morale, Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolio, Maurino, Morale and Taggiasca.
Deciding when to pick the olives is vital to the quality of the oil. If picked too soon or late will influence the acidity of the oil. For instance, Extra Virgin Olive Oil must have the acidity level of less than one percent. When it’s time to harvest the crop, the olives are hand picked, washed and within 24-48 hours the whole olive is crushed into a pulp by a stone mill or grinder. “First cold pressing” is when the pulp is pressed using a traditional wooden or modern hydraulic press Also, a cold press is when the pulp is processed at a temperature of below 27 degrees.
So much work goes into the olive oil harvest and production. Depending on how large the farm is will depend on the price of the oil-the boutique oils are always more expensive, but have the most unique taste. Italy is very strict with the labeling the designation to ensure quality of the region. When buying Italian/Tuscan olive oil, make sure that the bottle has a designation of origin labels (DOP) and for the region of Chianti (Tuscan region) the denomination of controlled origin (DOC).
Olive oil harvesting is as an important ritual in Tuscany. Italy is known for its agriturismo art and culinary culture through out the country. However, there is something a little more special and magical in the Tuscan region that steals the hearts and souls of all her visitors. The vistas, architect, history and food have a higher standard held by its inhabitants. Come visit the region and find out why it’s one of the top destinations in the world! Franco Fadda Wine Tour Experience offers tours through the olive oil production farms, as well as our wine tours.
Contact us to schedule your tour!