Extra Virgin Olive Oil From Your Friends in Umbria

If you are here it means you know that we have been making olive oil lately. Quite a bit actually and a damn good one, if we do say so ourselves. You probably also know that it is not an easy process and doesn’t happen without hard work and a lot of time. You can read more about the process and how we got involved below. 
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Olivando in the News

How to Become Olive Growers 101

Here is a little history about how we became olive growers. Needless to say, it wasn’t planned. When we moved to Perugia in June of 2019  we were focusing on growing our destination wedding photography and planning business. The house we live in sits on a hillside with about 30 acres of forested land and somewhere around 500 olive trees. It’d been a long time since the trees had been shown the love and attention they deserve. When we first arrived, it was nearly impossible to walk in the groves. Years of overgrowth and previous trimmings left behind had created a less than walkable surface. It was a landscape where critters could find great hiding spots and one could easily twist an ankle. So we started cleaning up; one tree at a time. Originally, we did it for the personal satisfaction of bringing these old trees back to their original splendor. We were overwhelmed by the amount of work we were facing and thought we would never be able to finish or even put a dent in it. But, like any labor of love, we kept doing it in our spare time. Then 2020 happened, and, well, no weddings and all the time in the world. So we decided to kick it up a notch.

Most of the lockdown was spent climbing trees with clippers and a saw, trimming branches, clearing some seriously spiky blackberry vines, or wrestling firmly adhered ivy off a tree trunk. Once enough debris had been cleared, we used the tractor to mow between the trees so Amanda could go running in the grove (a lifesaver for her during lockdown). We weren’t able to tend to every tree, but we accomplished a lot, and the trees that did get some TLC produced quite well. We also let a local beekeeper place his boxes in the newly cleaned grove and while we can’ say that had anything to do with the crop, it added to the adventure. 

Check out the BEFORE AND AFTER pictures to see what 4 hours of hard work looks like (for each tree). In the gallery you can see also images of the winter pruning, the summer clean up and the harvest in the fall.

BEFORE

This is probably a 200 year old tree that has not been pruned for several years. Vines are choking it and competing for nutrients. Not a productive tree.

AFTER

The ivy is gone! Now it’s time for pruning.

BEFORE

Same thing here! Vines are taking over. 

AFTER

Much better now, after a good “shave”.

WATCH THE VIDEO!

So how does it taste?

At the end of the ball game, that’s the most important thing. It should be pretty clear by now that this EVOO was made with a a lot of love. We started harvesting in early November, taking crate after crate to the local mill. Their maniacal care used to extract the oil in a two step process made an incredible difference in the quality of the final product. The result is a fantastic oil with a very balanced flavor. You see, the “olio nuovo” is naturally characterized by an herbaceous and peppery aroma, along with a bright green color. Some people love the stronger kick of the fresh oil, some prefer a more delicate and fruity taste that comes with maturity. We think we have achieved the perfect combination of the two, with a bite and smell that are distinct but not overpowering and will slowly mellow out with time. 

How to store it

Much consideration went into picking the right packaging, not only for shipping but also for freshness. Everybody knows that light and oxygen are the two main enemies of olive oil. That’s why the ideal container is either a dark glass or ceramic bottle. However, those are heavy and require bulky packaging, making it more expensive to ship. Luckily there are better alternatives. We have two options:

TINS – Aluminium tins are common for olive oil storage in Italy. They ship well and can take a beating. We choose this option in half liters, they are so cute. This is also a great idea for Christmas gifts, levelling up the kitchens of friends and family. 

BAG-IN-BOX – You know, like boxed wine, but premium Umbrian EVOO. To be honest, we didn’t see that coming; olive oil in a box? But we thought about it and guess what? It’s the perfect container to ship and store liquids, especially if you want to stock up (which we are all doing right now). By the way, these are not your standard plastic wine bags. They are manufactured specifically for olive oil and are made of ALUMINIUM, keeping light and oxygen away from your oil. As you drizzle away, the container inside the box shrinks, maintaining a vacuum seal which keeps your oil fresh until the last drop. You can easily store these boxes in your pantry, using them periodically to refill a prettier bottle for daily use. We have found either the 3 or 5 Liter to be great options. The latter is ample and a great choice if you want to source your own bottles/containers for gifts.

0.5 LITER TINS (min. 6)

Box of 6 tins

3 LITER BOX

Family size

5 LITER BOX

Super size

Thank you for your support!

We hope you’ll enjoy your EVOO as much as we do. We promise you, it is made with all our love. REMEMBER to send us a selfie with your bottle!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the hills of Umbria, the “Green Heart of Italy,” made by Amanda and Marco.

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