“The greatest cure for life’s ailments is olive oil”
(Solon, c. 638 – c. 558 BC, Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet)
The “Eleones Olympias" bring a fresh approach to the traditional production and marketing of extra virgin olive oil. Originating from Kafkonia, a village in the beautiful valley of the Alpheios river these groves lie on the outskirts of the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of the ancient town of Olympia as well as from the lush green landscape of Grillos in the Skillountos municipality.
Driven on by our love for the delicate olive and reverence for traditions, we have been cultivating olive groves for three successive generations. Despite the devastating fires that raged across the region in 2007, seriously threatening the groves and affecting production, we have managed, through strenuous efforts, to overcome the damage. Today, equipped with low polluting machinery and a small-scale capacity packaging unit, we are embarking on a new start.
At "Eleones Olympias", we follow traditional methods, strictly avoid modern super-intensive cultivation and practice organic cultivation. The surrounding vegetation, made up of a rich variety of plants and shrubs testifies that our procedures are free from chemicals and pesticides. (see photo gallery). Moreover to eliminate pesky weeds and to harvest the olives, only light machinery is used.
The olives are harvested during the months of November and December. This relatively short period of time may limit production but it preserves the high quality of our olive oil and ensures that the crops we use are free from spoiling caused by extended exposure to the scourges of hail and frost.
The olives are transferred daily to the mill where they are carefully stored, protected from the adverse effects of winter weather. The period from collection to pressing is critical since olives that sit heaped up too long are prone to molding and decomposition and this is why we proceed to pressing promptly, every two days.
The actual pressing process determines the quality of the olive oil. Before this begins, the olives are cleaned with twigs and any remaining debris removed. They are then placed on the kneaders to be pressed. The actual extraction of the oil takes from around 45 to 60 minutes.
As for the kneaders, its basin is encased by a sheath filled with hot water which facilitates the separation of the oil from the olive paste. While maintaining the water temperature at low levels reduces the amounts of olive oil produced, the lower the water temperature - the smaller the amount of oil produced; however its quality is heightened. Next, the liquid is spun, and this separates the heavier water from the oil, resulting in the final product. The new oil is transferred and stored in stainless tanks, where it is filtered naturally with precipitators.
The process is completed with the packaging of the olive oil either in bottles or in tin cans.
Small air-tight packaging maintains the olive-oil’s organoleptic characteristics (taste, aroma) and is decisive for preserving its quality over time. On the other hand, canisters and barrels should be avoided for packaging, since, apart from leading to oxidation, the olive oil is rendered susceptible to absorbing the odors present in the area where it is being kept.