So for the past few days we have been finishing the olive harvest and today we took all of the olives to be pressed in the town of Barberino Val d'Elsa. The company we went to press the olives is very reliable and they take the process of their produce very seriously. They own around 270 hectares and 40 of them being specialized vineyards, in the short video I made below the scenery is some of their land they grow the olives and grapes on while the photos below are from Casaglia.
In the video below Antonio who I worked with on the olive trees in Casaglia is driving the truck in front of us holding the olives from the 97 trees in Macinella, Casaglia. We took them on a 30 minute drive to Barberino Val d'Elsa where each olive was pressed to produce the olive oil.
Currently in the United States there has been a buzz around the fact that the bottles people have been buying in the supermarkets isn't really filled with olive oil. Even in a bottle you pick up that says it was made in Italy... sometimes it just means that the oil was packaged in Italy. The Italian Mafia has had a lot to do with this problem of scamming people with fake olive oil, they will take seed oil, coloring it with chlorophyll and using other chemicals to give it the fruity aroma of olive oil. Doing your research before you buy your oil is key, buying local is great too! There are some really great places right in California you can buy oil from but nothing beats Italian extra virgin olive oil. Today my family bought 5 liters of olive oil to be mailed back home and yes the shipping is expensive but spending my last four months in the Tuscan countryside has shown me how important this stuff really is!
You may ask, "Why are you doing an entire post on olive oil?" "Is it really that important?" AND MY ANSWER IS YES IT IS! Italians may love their gelato and pastries but cream and butter isn't something I have touched since being here because many of the older Italians here don't cook with it at home! We use olive oil in the place of butter which sounds like it isn't doing much because growing up we are told to stay away from putting too much oil into our bodies because it is "unhealthy" but if you are putting the right kind of oil into your body it has some great results. Olive Oil can help decrease inflammation, risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and it also helps calcium absorption. It is a million times better to have a fruit oil instead of animal produce in your body and that is just a fact.
Here is the information on how you can buy quality oil and wine from Tuscany, Italy online and trust where and who it is coming from. The man who runs the shipping at this company is the son of Antonio and is very kind and helped me to ship back some other things home with the oil to my family.