Ideally, any agricultural product should be organically cultivated, leaving the plants to grow as naturally as possible. This is a fundamental feature we include in our vision, therefore O2 Olive Oil is only of organic certified cultivation from small local producers, who almost never used any chemical additives to their cultivation practices whatsoever.
Secondly, as is reported by many international studies and documented by practical experience, olive oil from early picked olives (Agourelaio) is nutritionally superior and more tasteful than other olive oils. Traditionally the people of our area do early pick their olives to produce their olive oil, and we exactly follow this tradition and make sure it is implemented correctly at the right time for the olives to be in their pre prime state for picking.
A very important step and a laborious one, is the harmless picking of olives directly from the tree and their safe and unharmed direct transportation from the field to the pressing mill.
The picking should be done either by hand or by specialized machinery that least harm the olive fruit in the process of removing it from the trees.
We use in this stage specialized local personel equipped with company machinery in order for the olives to me picked correctly from the trees and stored in organic fiber bags for their direct transportation to the near by press mill. In this process the olive fruits do not come in contact with any plastic material upon their transportation, and the polymer material existent in our machinery is certified for not transferring to olive fruits any plastic elements during the picking process.
DIRECT TRANSPORTATION FOR PRESSING
This stage of the production process is usually the one where great potentially olive oils never make it to finish.
It’s the one most neglected and the one most easily corrected if the process of production is carefully organized by the producer.
The olives, like any other fruit, upon their removal (some times violent and with large bruises) from the tree branch, are exposed to direct oxidation from the air surrounding them. So the sooner they are transported to the press mill for pressing the better for the quality of the oil.
We have taken extra care for this important stage of the production process by transporting our picked olives twice a day to the near by press mill, in organic fiber bags, minimizing therefore the time between olive picking and olive pressing in less than 8-9 hours for every production day.
Also, the transportation mean is company inspected and approved, with the bags not stored on top of each other, so as not to further harm the olives by extra pressure and weight.
DIRECTLY AND CAREFULLY PRESSED AFTER PICKING
When the olives arrive at the press mill, it is almost equally important with the previous production stage to be pressed immediately without further storage.
Olives stored in usually questionable conditions upon their arrival at the press mill almost surely will produce an inferior olive oil.
Equally important is for the machinery of the press mill to be correctly set up and cleaned for special organic dual phase cold extraction. The press mill is also required to have an official certification by a legislative authority for production of organic olive oil.
We have taken care of this important production step details, by choosing as a partner a long established and awarder olive oil producer and press mill owner in the area that shares our mentality and vision for olive oil excellence.
We transport our olives two times a day in the press mill where they are pressed directly in appropriate conditions.
AFTER PRESS TRANSPORTATION – STORAGE
It is unfortunately an established practice for many producers to either leave their olive oil stored in very large tanks in the press mill after olive oil extraction, or transport it with usually dubious means to their premises.
How the olive oil is treated and transported after its extraction is equally important for its final quality and life expectancy as is the process of timely extraction after picking.
To this end, our company, directly after pressing transports its daily production with its own controlled means (stainless steel tanks) directly to our own certified underground installation area (INOX certified tanks) therefore completing the direct cycle of production in usually less than 8 hours each day, two times a day.
This process that is completed daily, is the most important part of olive oil production, providing the product with its so called “birth certificate” indicating its quality characteristics and its potential for life expectancy if stored in appropriate conditions afterwards.
If this part of the process is completed correctly, chances are that the produced olive oil is of very high nutritional value, and has a long life expectancy potential, since its initial acidity and other relevant oxidation characteristics are very promising.
STORAGE – FILTERING – BOTTLING
Appropriate storage of Olive Oil (away from heat light and Oxygen) is the best way to insure that its initial high quality is preserved up to the time of bottling.
Ideally the place of storage should be invariant to temperature fluctuations, in clean and dedicated to specific production olive oil only INOX certified tanks, filled with only fresh production each year.
We have dedicated special tanks for separate production between different producers, installed underground. The olive oil is left for at least 45 days after production to physically settle down and clear it self only by gravity. It is then, only upon customer demand, bottled totally unfiltered, without any further refinement process, with special low frequency pumps, in order to press the liquid as less as possible.
Every mechanical component of the storage – bottling machinery is certified for food safety according to European standards.
Bottles are air cleared just before bottling, which is done by hands, bottle by bottle, in our certified bottling station, just above our storage area, with the olive oil transported in only a couple of meters pipeline from tank to bottling machine.
BOTTLING – REGISTRATION
Each bottle is carefully examined for product perfection before final registration and shipment. Each bottle shipped has its unique Bottle Tracking Number, providing information to customer about the day of bottling, the day of harvest, the specific field from where the olives were picked, and also, the special organoleptic and chemical characteristics of each years production, and in most cases actual characteristics at the time of bottling.
This process, apart from quality and complete product tractability control has also a more interesting function.
It relates the taste of the product to detailed chemical and certified organoleptic figures and numbers, thus enabling the consumer to progressively read the meaning of usually quoted numbers on the labelling of similar products and understand the truth behind the figures. It gives a specific meaning to the figure 4.7 fruity sensation, or 0 default figure, or unfiltered agourelaio olive oil, mix of Ladoelia + Koroneiki variety, etc.
We do not, provide a standard labeling in our product for such variant elements such as acidity, organoleptic characteristics or other product details, because they vary by production year and time of harvesting and bottling.
Instead, we provide by a unique number for each bottle (BTN) all the relevant Actual information parameters to customers, being absolutely true and updated on their experience.
It is not a “marketing, limited product labeling” concept, but a vital integrated part of our overall quality process, to provide the customer with real information about a live and variant in time product, like wine.
Really pure and unfiltered olive oil cannot uniformly be standardized and commercialized due to its special characteristics.
Instead of compromising our vision and production to a wrong promotional concept about standardization, we dare to try to reeducate the customers to truly appreciate uniqueness, by reinventing their expectations.
With strict organizational control we are able to produce like a family estate in a larger business scale and deliver the highest possible quality by combining the positive attributes of the two worlds.
IMAGE – DESIGN – FUNCTIONALITY
Design and product packaging has mainly two important functions, apart from marketing concept of glamour imaging in order to instil to consumer the sense of high quality for the product.
The first function is to appropriately inform and reassure the customer before buying, that the product in question meets the desired quality standards, in terms of nutrition, taste, ingredients, e.t.c., to reassure the customer that the value inside meets the price quote of the product, and that by buying and using the product the customer will surely obtain the expected utility and pleasure.
The second function, is to provide extra functionality and usability to the product, protect it, and allow the customer to enjoy and use it as often as possible, as easy as possible and with the minimum effort as possible, also maintaining the waste material to a logical minimum. As for Olive oil packaging, since olive oil is a premium and highly nutritious food, additionally to the above, we believe that its packaging should also provide for easy use in a kitchen environment, and if possible also by image and design instil in people its further use and consumption with the expected health and nutrition benefits that this implies.
Combining all of the above in a packing device, we picked high quality certified glass bottles, of semitransparent design, for the customer to be able to see the color, pureness and quantity of the product, but with the product to be also protected from light, with roughed outside surface for perfect and balanced grip in all conditions, using as less as possible glass material, with aluminium safety closure, with flow control to further simplify it’s use during cooking, and with a design as minimal as possible, giving the last signature about the purity and balanced elegance of the product inside.
Our olive oil bottle its not just an image, its a multifunctional medium matching the product that it carries, appropriately balanced.