New Harvest For Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Updated March 17th 2021

It’s harvest time again! We are delighted to be involved again with the latest harvest of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil olives.

New Harvest For Morocco Gold
New Harvest For Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Morocco Gold olive growing area is around 200 kms and about 4 hours drive north east from Marrakesh in the wonderfully picturesque Taounza Valley which is part of the Beni Mellal Region.  This elevated valley lies in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains with altitude varying between 700m and 900m along its 40kms. This creates its own micro-climate and terroir with temperatures generally 2c below the coastal plain in the daytime and 5c at night-time. These differences create unique high-quality olive growing conditions which are concentrated in the eastern half of the valley.

Olive Oil Trees In Morocco
Olive Oil Trees In Morocco

Harvesting olives re-enacts an event that has taken place for centuries. The farmers and their families have nurtured their olive trees and their harvest with care and attention for generations.

Fruiting sizing and assessment of the maturity of the olive is carried out prior to harvesting.  The planned date of harvest is agreed based on the maturity of the olives, also the generations of experience of the olive farmers. Morocco Gold olives are hand-harvested early in the season when the fruit is young.

Our aim at Morocco Gold is to achieve the optimum balance between the level of polyphenols present in our extra virgin olive oil and its taste. Research has shown that high levels of polyphenols deliver the numerous health benefits to our heart, cardiovascular system, digestive system as well as to our cognitive functions.

Polyphenols also produce the distinctive ‘peppery’ sensation when tasted, which in some olive varieties can feel somewhat ‘aggressive’ if you are not used to it. The wonderful thing about Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is that even with its high polyphenol count it retains its fresh fruity flavour without being too ‘aggressive’ to produce a wonderfully balanced, health rich extra virgin olive oil. The following shows the importance of harvest timing.

Types Of Olives
Types Of Olives

Morocco Gold olives are normally pressed around the end of October / November when the fruit is still young but the polyphenol levels are at their optimum. This does however have a huge impact on olive oil yield. The olives are smaller, the amount of oil yielded is much lower, but the quality is at its best.

Olives picked later in the harvesting season will produce more oil, however this will be of a lower quality. This is one of the reasons why high-quality extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is slightly more expensive.

Hand Picked Olives From Olive Trees
Hand Picked Olives From Olive Trees

The specialist team of harvesters consists of local women from the valley who bring a special degree of diligence to the harvesting process to ensure that only the best olives go not Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil. Nets and tarpaulins are placed on the ground to avoid contact between the olives and the ground. Harvesting is carried out by hand. Recent reports have highlighted issues of mechanized harvesters devastating bird populations during picking.

Read the Telegraphs article about how some olive oils are killing birds:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/29/british-supermarkets-admit-olive-oils-could-killing-birds-pledge/

The topography within the Morocco Gold olive producing region precludes the use of mechanized harvesters.

After harvesting, the olives are then pressed within 24 hours of picking at low temperature to retain the fresh, fruity taste of the olive oil and ensure extra virgin quality.

We are delighted to report that the initial analysis results for Morocco Gold are indicating an acidity of around 0.2%. The slightly drier conditions this year also has increased the polyphenol count which provides the health enhancing properties of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.

Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is the product of the soil, the sun and rain, nothing else.

The Joy Of Harvesting

If you’re a farmer, the word olive oil harvest elicits myriad emotions. Feelings range from stress to anxiety to relief and to hope and joy. And if you are fortunate enough to allow yourself a few spare moments during this exhausting season, you might just find yourself overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction rarely found in our modern world.

Determining when to harvest is not an exact science. It is an amalgam of a number of factors such as the desired olive oil yield, intended level of anti-oxidants, and, of course, the desired flavour profile.

It is important to strike the right balance for Morocco Gold customers. Our aim is to combine the taste characteristics of a premium extra virgin olive oil, young and fruity, with the health enhancing polyphenols to create an extra virgin olive oil that is well balanced and not too ‘aggressive’ when taken on its own.

A key to achieving this balance is the generations of experience of our olive growers, the care and attention the pay to their crop throughout the whole growing season and the dedication and attention to detail paid during the harvesting process.

Anticipating An Olive Oil Harvest

Harvesting requires a lot of preparation and planning including having the team of ‘sisters’ 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.

However when you see those first mounds of olives accumulating in the harvest trays, it’s a magical moment. The thing we have been working for all year is finally coming to fruition. 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 flavour.

The sense of anticipation grow as the olives are delivered to the processing plant, unloaded into receiving the hoppers, passed through strippers to removes 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 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 polyphenol anti-oxidants. When swallowed, is there the characteristic ‘bite’ or pepperiness in the back of the throat, an indication of the oil’s pungency, also the level of anti-oxidant polyphenols.

The relief of knowing that harvest is underway and that Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is delicious and will likely delight our customers is immeasurably rewarding and reinvigorating. There are so few opportunities left in our modern world whereby we can be part of nature’s cycle that delivers so much in the way of taste and health benefits to our customers around the world.

Every aspect of olive production ultimately affects the oil itself: the growing region, the 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 all year round affects the taste and quality of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.

The Joy Of Harvesting

If you’re a farmer, the word harvest elicits myriad emotions. Feelings range from stress to anxiety to relief and to hope and joy. And if you are fortunate enough to allow yourself a few spare moments during this exhausting season, you might just find yourself overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction rarely found in our modern world.

Determining when to harvest is not an exact science. It is an amalgam of a number of factors such as the desired olive oil yield, intended level of anti-oxidants, and, of course, the desired flavour profile.

It is important to strike the right balance for Morocco Gold customers. Our aim is to combine the taste characteristics of a premium extra virgin olive oil, young and fruity, with the health enhancing polyphenolswhat is dom i to create an extra virgin olive oil that is well balanced and not too ‘aggressive’ when taken on its own.

A key to achieving this balance is the generations of experience of our olive growers, the care and attention the pay to their crop throughout the whole growing season and the dedication and attention to detail paid during the harvesting process.

Harvesting requires a lot of preparation and planning including having the team of ‘sisters’ 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.

However when you see those first mounds of olives accumulating in the harvest trays, it’s a magical moment. The thing we have been working for all year is finally coming to fruition. 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 flavour.

The sense of anticipation grow as the olives are delivered to the processing plant, unloaded into receiving the hoppers, passed through strippers to removes 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 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 polyphenol anti-oxidants. When swallowed, is there the characteristic ‘bite’ or pepperiness in the back of the throat, an indication of the oil’s pungency, also the level of anti-oxidant polyphenols.

The relief of knowing that harvest is underway and that Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is delicious and will likely delight our customers is immeasurably rewarding and reinvigorating. There are so few opportunities left in our modern world whereby we can be part of nature’s cycle that delivers so much in the way of taste and health benefits to our customers around the world.

Every aspect of olive production ultimately affects the oil itself: the growing region, the 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 all year round affects the taste and quality of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.

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