OEL – All around the olive …
Natural organic olive oil and organic olive products from Greece
What does the brand stand for?
Under the OEL brand, we produce our own organic olive oil and sell excellent and innovative organic olive-related products.
OEL wants you to be able to buy special Greek organic olive products of the highest quality at fair prices.
OEL sees itself as a direct bridge between producers and consumers, between Kalamata and Berlin.
Try now our award winning Koroneiki olive oil and much moreZu den Produkten
Organic extra virgin olive oil from Greece
The OEL brand stands for 100% pure Greek organic extra virgin olive oil Koroneikivariety. The olives grow on our own trees and those of our local partner in Kalamata/Messenien/Greece. All groves are harvested by hand. We take an active part in the harvest and production every year. You can find out more about the harvest and production below.
With a history dating back almost 5000 years, olive oil is one of the oldest agricultural products known to mankind — and with our OEL olive oil began the story of Thalassa …
Not just buying Greek olive oil and then selling it, but buying our own land and cultivating our own olives – that was our idea and that’s what we decided to do in 2015. »»You can find out more about our story here.
We wanted to have the entire production chain in our own hands and thus be able to control it. Kalamata, the capital of the Messinia region in the Peloponnese, is not only our (second) home, but also that of millions of olive trees. The region is considered the most important olive-growing area in Greece, in front of islands such as Crete or Lesbos. They have been cultivated around Kalamata for thousands of years.
The most important regional olive variety is the Koroneiki olive..
With good reason: The taste of the small green Koroneiki olive is legendary and its compositionis unsurpassed. Within Greece, Koroneiki oil is not without reason the most popular olive oil.
But the geography and climate of the Messenia region also play a decisive role in the taste of OEL olive oil. The mountainous region, which is very hot in summer, extremely dry and rocky, demands a lot of robustness and composure from the trees and the farmers. The result is an olive oil with flavors of citrus fruits and nuts.
Producing OEL means pure manualwork.
The OEL harvest takes place once a year, usually at the beginning of November. Then, our olives make their way from the tree to our canisters.
This is how we harvest our olives
The olive harvest, which takes place in the Messinia region every November and December, is a complex, planning and labor-intensive process. During harvest, the days begin at sun rise and end at sunset.
But when is the optimal time for the olive harvest?
As the year draws to a close, we closely monitor the degree of ripeness of the olives in order to catch the right harvest time for the best tasting olive oil. The degree of ripeness of an olive can be recognized by its size, surface tension and color. In our case, the color development of the Koroneiki olives turns the young, green fruits into dark purple olives. However, the harvest takes place before the fruits are fully ripe.
During harvest, we work our way from tree to tree through out the grove. First large fine-meshed nets are spread under the tree. These nets catch the stripped olives and prevent them from simply falling to the ground.
If the nets are placed in the right way, harvesting starts:
One person climbs into the treetop and starts cutting out larger branches with strong vertical shoots which will bear none to little fruit and obstruct light to filter through. Harvest and tree prunning is carried out simultaneously. Olive trees usually bear fruit every two years. So pruning gives the olive tree the right growth signals, ventilates it and allows maximum light to enter all around. .
To get the olives off the cut branches they are either beaten by hand or held in a kind of “combing machine”. In this, combing machine, rollers with rubber knobs rotate at several thousand rotations per minute. These strip the olives from the branch. he remaining harvest workers work with the vibrating rakes, which are up to four meters long. This is the hardest part of the olive harvest. With those shaking rakes, we shake the olives off the branches. Branch by branch.
The very small Koroneiki olives are not picked individually, but “raked” from the branches.
Once an olive tree has been completely harvested, branches and leaves are removed from the nets and the olives poured into sacks.
And on to the next tree! We harvest the olives from the first to the last ray of sunshine.
Handmade is truly the key and we mean it in the true sense of the word For OEL, we go beyond the requirements of the European organic certificate. We do all the land maintenance and harvesting tasks by hand. Weeding, cutting the trees, fertilizing the soil, painting the tree trunks with lime paint and harvesting the olives it is all done by hand at OEL.
Industrial agriculture, driven by competition, time and price pressure operates super-intensive cultivation and fully automated harvesting. Super-intensive cultivation means that the olive trees are lined up tightly for optimal use of the area and are reduced to bush size for fully automated harvest through targeted, regular trimming. So-called stilt tractors drive over the small trees for the harvest. These tractors are taller than the “trees”. They grab the trunk with their gripping arms and shake the olives out of the tree. At the same time, huge brush arms drive through the shaken tree and wag the remaining olives out of the branches. Such harvesting causes lasting damage to the olive tree and causes other, ever-increasing problems in the eco system such as bird deaths.
The unique power, strength and individual growth form of the mythical olive tree is lost in these industrial plantations.
We don’t want that.
We would be nothing without Ilias, our partner in Greece. He is the master of the olive oli mill. Usually until late at night.
This is how we produce OEL Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
At the end of each day, during the often week-long olive harvest, the harvest sacks are picked up by collectively organized tractors and taken to the oil mill.
After the harvest,time is of the essence: in order to preserve the rich ingredients of the olive, it is important that oil is produced from the harvested olives within a few hours. Otherwise the olives are in danger of oxidizing or breaking in the heavy harvest sacks. That’s why our day’s work is always processed on the same evening.
In the oil mill, the olives are sieved, separated from branches and leaves and then washed — while the exhausted, unwashed harvest workers look proudly at their harvest after a hard day harvesting the olives.
After the washing line, the olives go into the mash tanks. A rotating cutting blade turns the olives into the so-called mash pulp in these containers. When the olive mash is ready, it either goes into the press or, as in our case, into the centrifuge. This decides whether an olive oil is cold-pressed or cold-extracted during production. The press presses and the centrifuge extracts. Our olive oil is extracted in the centrifuge at several thousand revolutions per minute and then immediately bottled in a UV and temperature-insulating manner. The centrifuge is proven to be the gentlest way to process olives after harvest.
Importantly, the entire processing plant must be cooled down with additional water during production. The temperature of an extra virgin olive oil must not exceed 27 degrees during its production. This is important to protect the ingredients. Only under this condition may olive oil be described as “cold-pressed” or “cold-extracted” and thus “extra virgin”.
Another crucial factor in both the olive harvest and in the production of the olive oil is the avoidance of contamination. Impurities can negate all the efforts outlined above and can be detected in both chemical and sensory analysis. Contamination can be caused by:
- wrong harvesting materials — use of nylon bags instead of canvas bags
- when using machines, especially old machines
- due to fertilizers or pesticides
- insufficient or incorrect cleaning of the processing plants before and during production
In order to avoid contamination, we exclusively use sustainable materials ‚for harvesting and processing, wewe harvest by hand rely on our production partner Ilias and his state-of-the-art processing plant.