A Truly Unique Source
Updated February 5th 2021
History Of Olive Oil
Fossil evidence indicates the olive tree had its origins some 20–40 million years ago in the Oligocene era. Evidence of the first olive cultivation has been found on the border between Turkey and Syria, in the period around 6000-8000 years ago
Inventory logs carried by ancient trading ships dating back to around 4,000 BCE contain the first written records of olive oil, which was transported through the Mediterranean area from one port to another. As far back as 3000 BC, olives were grown commercially in Crete and olive oil may well have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan civilization.
The first great expansion of olive cultivation seems to be around Greece and Egypt around 1,700 BCE. Around 1,000 BCE the Phoenicians are thought to have brought olives to Spain and Northern Africa.
The expansion of the Roman Empire in around 900 BCE was key to olive oil and its uses. The Roman Empire expanded its civilization throughout southern Europe and North Africa, bringing with it olive trees and olive oil to all conquered territories. As an important commodity, the Romans made many improvements in olive tree cultivation, olive oil extraction and storage and valued olive oil to such an extent that it was even accepted as payment for taxes. The decline of the Roman Empire in 500 A.D. brought with it a decrease in olive cultivation and a reduction in olive oil use.
Around 1,110 AD olive groves begin to flourish once again, particularly in Italy, thanks to the merchant class who discovered that selling olive oil in local markets was an important source of income.
Spanish colonists brought the olive to the New World in the 16th century where its cultivation prospered in present-day Peru and Chile. Around 1,800 AD, olive oil makes its commercial debut in the Americas as Italian and Greek immigrants demanded its import from Europe.
Where Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Comes From: A Truly Unique Source
The Morocco Gold olive growing area is 180 kms and about 4 hours drive north east from Marrakesh. It is situated in a raised valley in the foothills of the magnificent Atlas mountains in the Azilal Province which is part of the Beni Mellal region. The area rarely sees many tourists or ‘outsiders’.
The geological history of this remote and unspoiled valley shows that it was formed in the early Jurassic period around 190 million years ago. It shows well preserved sediments and rocks of marine origin (called Lias) towards the valley sides and sediments alternating between shallow marine carbonates, continental silts and red sandstone from the Cretaceous era – around 145 – 66 million years ago towards the center of the valley.
The Cretaceous covers a period with a relatively warm climate, with sea level changes (known as tectono-eustatic oscillations) driven either by increases in the volumes of the oceans, or by the rising and falling of the land due to tectonic plate movements – a process that helped form the Atlas mountains themselves. The evidence strongly suggests that this valley was at one time underwater.
During the Cretaceous, new groups of mammals, birds as well as flowering plants appeared. The end of the Cretaceous is also defined by the abrupt mass extinction in which many dinosaurs and large marine reptiles died out. (Interestingly, another feature of the Azilal province is the preponderance of dinosaur fossils from this period).
Over time however, the layer upon layer of decomposed organic matter has contributed massively to the rich content of phenols in the local soil. This in turn contributes to the very high levels polyphenols found in olives now grown in the region, including in Morocco Gold Extra Virgin olive oil.
This raised valley is between two 1400m Atlas ranges with altitude varying between 700m and 900m along its 40kms. 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 source (the 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, this is the Morocco Gold source. 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.
Our olives are grown in a valley that is about 2,000 feet above sea level. This helps to create the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol uptake within the olive tree. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself.
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.
There has been a long debate about the ability of plants to uptake humic substances through their root systems and to metabolize them. There is now a consensus about how humus plays a hormonal role rather than simply a nutritional role in plant physiology. 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.
Why not try this truly unique Morocco Gold source and order a bottle (or more) to-day.