Meet the supplier - Honest Toil January 28, 2017 11:46
That January health kick can get a bit dull so I always like to find products that are tasty, healthy and no effort at all. What better way to escape the cold and dark than with a little trip to Greece (virtual, not actual unfortunately!) to find out what goes into the process of harvesting one of the most delicious Olive Oils on the market - Honest Toil.
Here's what they had to say about the decades old method of production that produces that gorgeous grassy flavour.
The Honest Toil of a Messinian Harvest
"We harvest our trees early in the season, meaning our olive oil has a strong “grassy green” taste, and a really rich colour. Luckily, it also means warm sunshine for our harvesters!
The farmers around our village of Stasio still use the traditional method of combing and beating the branches, and use rotating combs on long sticks for the hard-to-reach branches. Removing small twigs, we collect the olives from the nets on the ground and pour them into hefty 50kg hessian sacks and stack them under the trees.
While we progress through the grove, we prune the trees to optimise their growth for the next season. The best practise is to encourage four or five main branches to grow upwards and outwards with space in the middle for breezes. A healthy olive tree should have enough space between its branches for a bird to fly through the middle.
We take the olives to the press within 24 hours of being picked to ensure they are crushed at their finest, and this results in a really low acidity (less than 0.3%). The village press constantly has tractor-loads of olive sacks arriving which turns them into bright-green cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. As its all cold pressed, and we use no heat in the process of extracting the oil, it takes about an hour to squeeze all the olives, after which the oil is immediately edible - if only a little spicy - and we bring the oil back home for a dinner of home-made bread and Greek salad.
It's a fun mood during the harvest, as everyone in the area owns small fields of olive trees, and return to the villages for the harvest, so the tavernas are full of animated people discussing the intricacies of pruning olive branches, alongside the ubiquitous topic of Greek politics!"
Honest Toil is great for salads and cooking but sometimes simple is best - try it with some crusty bread and some balsamic vinegar to really appreciate the taste. Pop in to find out more and sample the range.