Come with us on the journey to produce this best olive oil with its amazing health benefits.
Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil has emerged as a rising star in the world of healthy eating. With its unique flavor and rich nutritive profile, this olive oil has been gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers. Known for its low acidity levels, this extra virgin olive oil from Morocco is packed with essential nutrients, including monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. Our olive producers also follow strict organic farming practices, ensuring that the olives are grown without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals. As consumers become more aware of the importance of healthy eating, Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is quickly becoming a top choice for those seeking to improve their health and wellbeing.
Discover the Journey of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil – From Tree to Table
At Morocco Gold, we understand that our customers are not only interested in the incredible taste and quality of our extra virgin olive oil but also in the story behind it. Join us as we take you through the fascinating journey of how our olives are grown, nurtured, and transformed into the golden elixir we proudly offer.
The Source Of This Amazing Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Our olives are grown in a raised valley in the foothills of the Atlas mountains in Morocco with altitude varying between 700m and 900m along its 40kms length. This creates its own micro-climate with temperatures generally 2c below the coastal plain in the daytime and 5c at night-time. These differences, combined with the naturally occurring nutrients in the soil create uniquely high-quality olive growing conditions for the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive used in Morocco Gold.
What Is So Special About Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive? It’s Polyphenol Level
Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is high in polyphenols. The high polyphenol content of our extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. First is the variety of the olive, secondly the climate and terroire of the growing region and thirdly the actual time in the growing season that the crop is harvested all contribute to a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. Oil from this variety is renowned for it’s high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.
In soils, phenols are released over extended period of time from decomposing plant materials. This causes complex organic compounds to be slowly oxidized or to break down into simpler forms of sugars, amino sugars, aliphatic and phenolic organic acids. These are further transformed into microbial biomass or are reorganized, and further oxidized, into humic assemblages (fulvic and humic acids), which bind to clay minerals. Olive trees grown in ‘challenging’ conditions encourage the uptake of naturally occurring phenols in the soil. This in turn aids the circulatory system within the olive tree, with the phenols eventually finding their way to the olive fruit itself.
Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black, the size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. There is a great deal of expertise within the farming community where we source our oil to ensure that the harvest is collected at the optimum time to maximise the polyphenol level.
The Secret Behind Thriving Olive Trees
Olive trees are remarkable beings that can bear fruit for centuries. However, they follow a unique pattern where they alternate between small and normal crops every other year, occasionally even taking a break from bearing fruit for 2-3 years. But fear not, because our olive trees are carefully cultivated to ensure a consistent supply of the finest olives for our olive oil.
The Resilience of Olive Trees
Olive trees have the remarkable ability to bear fruit for centuries. However, they generally alternate between smaller and normal harvests every other year and sometimes even take a break of 2 to 3 years before yielding any fruit. Let’s explore the key stages of an olive tree’s life cycle, leading up to the harvesting and pressing of our premium extra virgin olive oil.
Blooming: Nature’s Artistry
Olive trees produce beautiful inflorescences, fruiting shoots that sprout from the leaves’ axil. Depending on the olive variety, each inflorescence typically holds 10 to 30 flowers. However, only a certain number of these flowers will develop into olives, influenced by various factors.
Thriving in the ‘Goldilocks’ Zone
To flourish, olive trees need just the right conditions—not too hot, not too cold, but perfect! They require cold winters to ensure proper blooming and fruiting. The extent of winter coldness depends on the olive cultivar’s origin, whether it’s from the Eastern Mediterranean or Southern Europe. Harsh winds, extreme heat, and freezing temperatures can hinder fruit set. Moreover, excessively cold springs can delay blooming and increase irregularities in flowers. Our remote, elevated valley nestled in the Atlas Mountains’ foothills provides the ideal balance of temperature throughout the olive growing season.
Witnessing the Beauty of Blooming
Before the flowers burst into bloom, they undergo a crucial differentiation period tied to their sexuality. This process usually occurs between March and May, resulting in two possible outcomes: perfect flowers and staminate flowers. Perfect flowers possess both stamen (the male part) and pistil (the female part), while staminate flowers only have stamens and lack pistils.
Staminate Flowers and Pollination in Olive Trees
Staminate flowers, characterized by having only stamens and lacking a pistil, serve a purpose in the reproductive process of olive trees. While perfect (hermaphroditic) flowers exist, staminate flowers provide unique advantages. Let’s explore why they are present and their role in pollination.
The Development and Importance of Staminate Flowers:
• Energy Conservation: Developing a pistil requires a significant amount of energy and nutrients. Olive trees carefully allocate their resources to regulate the number of pistils they can support effectively.
• Nutrient Economizing: To pollinate the pistil, olive trees depend on a substantial number of stamens. Unlike pistils, stamens have lower nutrient requirements. Therefore, the tree optimizes its nutrient allocation by selectively terminating pistils (ovules) as necessary.
The Impact of Orchard Stress:
Stress, especially water stress, can adversely affect pistil development. When confronted with competition between flowers and leaves for resources, leaves often prevail. Unfortunately, this results in pistil failure. Maintaining adequate moisture in the soil during this crucial period helps mitigate such stress.
Understanding Pistil Abortion:
Natural pistil abortion occurs due to intense competition for nutrients during a period when both pistils and vegetative growth are demanding maximum resources. Moreover, intense fruit production in one year depletes the tree’s nutritional reserves. However, even with a minimal fruit set of only 1% – 2% of flowers, satisfactory crop yields can still be achieved. If a tree blooms but fails to develop olives, external factors like wind, rain, or hail may disrupt fruit setting.
The Fascinating Process of Pollination:
According to the Olive Production Manual by the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, a mature olive tree can have approximately 500,000 flowers during full bloom. However, within two weeks, the majority of these flowers will have failed, with only a small percentage maturing into fully grown fruit.
Self-Pollination and Cross-Pollination:
Olive flowers possess a unique geometry that facilitates self-pollination. The anthers, situated at the top of the filaments attached to the stamen, release pollen onto the stigma of the pistil, initiating olive growth. Although wind and bees can aid in pollination by disturbing the flower and causing pollen to transfer, it is not a necessary process. While some olive varieties can self-pollinate, others primarily rely on wind for pollen dispersal, with bees playing a minor role.
By examining the intricacies of staminate flowers and pollination in olive trees, we gain a deeper understanding of the extraordinary processes that contribute to the production of this remarkable fruit.
Cross Pollination: A Vital Process
Cross-pollination, facilitated by wind or bees, plays a crucial role in transferring pollen from one flower to another. However, in the case of olive orchards, bees are not typically active participants due to their lack of interest in olive flowers.
Stress – A Hidden Threat to Olive Trees
Just like us humans, olive trees and their fruits are susceptible to stress, which can have detrimental effects. Factors such as improper pruning, insufficient or excessive watering, and pest infections contribute to this stress.
Engaging in the Beauty of Olives
By understanding the importance of cross-pollination, recognizing and mitigating stress factors, and following the annual cycle, we can truly appreciate the remarkable journey of olives.
The Annual Cycle: Nature’s Rhythm
The olive tree’s annual cycle involves essential tasks such as ground-work and tillage, irrigation, fruiting sizing, and harvest planning. These activities are carefully managed based on the maturity index of the olives and the experience of skilled olive farmers.
Harvesting Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Olives: A Gentle Touch
Harvesting requires a lot of preparation and planning including having our dedicated team of women harvesters, the ‘sisterhood’ ready and eager, the harvesting equipment in working order, transportation arranged to carry our olives to the mill, are just a few of the preparations that need to be in place.
Morocco Gold olives are harvested by hand using flexible combs. Nets and tarpaulins are placed on the ground to avoid contact between the olives and the ground.
When you see those first mounds of olives accumulating in the harvest trays, it’s a magical moment. It’s like you’ve been transformed into the richest person in all the land. Yet we all know that none of us are in this business for the money – it’s about the richness of the journey. The thing that I have been working for all year is finally coming to fruition. Incidentally, the word itself derives from the Latin fruit (“to use, enjoy”) and fruit (sense of “act or state of bearing fruit”). When the fruit is finally being plucked off the trees and collected into trays for milling, it is truly a joyous occasion. There’s a sense of excitement around your hopes for a solid yield with superior flavor.
Aerated boxes are used for the immediate transport of the harvested olives from the orchard to the crushing unit. On receipt, the olives are checked to ensure their quality, in particular color and appearance, any defective or malformed olives.
The olives will then pass through a stripper to remove any impurities. They are then washed and drained before processing. Leaf stripping and washing eliminate impurities, whether of vegetable origins such as leaves, twigs, or mineral matter such as dust, earth, stones, and other solids. Washing improves not only the quality of the product but also extraction efficiency.
Extraction of oil is carried out in a continuous two-phase process. This minimizes handling of the olives and maintains strict control of hygiene.
Grinding of the olives is carried out using a metal hammer mill which is made of stainless steel. The paste obtained then undergoes a kneading or malaxation process which is the fundamental operation to separate the solid and liquid phases. This kneading operation is carried out for 40 to 50 minutes at temperatures not exceeding 28 ° C. In this way, the extracted oil may be labeled: cold-extracted oil or cold- pressed oil.
The well-kneaded dough is sent to a horizontal decanter where the continuous and simultaneous separation of the oil and wet cakes is achieved by a combination of centrifugal force and of the rotation of a conveyor screw which rotates inside the bowl.
The sense of anticipation grows as the olives are delivered to the processing plant, unloaded into receiving the hoppers, passed through strippers to remove any impurities, and then washed and drained before processing. They are then crushed, turned in malaxers, and spun in high-speed centrifuges to separate out the olive oil.
At last, the ‘liquid gold’ begins to pour into the final vessel. It is at this point that a tasting cup is eased into the stream for the first sample of the season’s olive-appreciated oil.
As the cup is lifted, there is a pause whilst the fresh aroma that wafts through the air is appreciated. This gives the first indication of the level of fruitiness. The olive oil is then sipped, coat the inside of the palates with viscous oil to assess the taste – is it bitter or mild? The greater the bitterness, the higher the level of antioxidants. When swallowed, is there the characteristic ‘bite’ or pepperiness in the back of the throat, an indication of the oil’s pungency, also a level of antioxidant polyphenols.
The time between harvest and pulping does not exceed 24 hours. Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is unfiltered to retain all of its natural properties and goodness. Nothing is added or taken away so that it is the result of the soil, the sun, and the rain only.
It is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience to know when harvesting is underway and that the new harvest of Morocco Gold will shortly be available. It is also incredibly rewarding to be part of a wholly natural process that has lasted for centuries.
Every aspect of olive production ultimately affects the oil itself: the growing region (climate, altitude, soil character), methods of growing, harvesting, and transporting the fruit, as well as extraction and storage methods. The care that is taken in each of these steps not only affects the taste and quality of the olive oil but its cost, yield, and shelf life.