At the Deli Garage, not only is the packaging prizewinning - the contents are too. To keep things that way, we regularly visit our factories to see for ourselves the excellent quality of the raw materials that go into our products. This time, our journey took us to Catalonia, home of the olives for our Oil Change.
The olive oil from the Deli Garage comes exclusively from Arbequina olives. This type of olive produces a particularly mild olive oil that with a slight taste of almonds. Unlike methods used in mass production, the farmers our manufacturers work with aren't just out for quick profits, they pay attention to sustainability. For example, the trees: they aren't as close to each other as in other fields and don't destroy the land. They have plenty of space to grow and can be cultivated for many years. This type of cultivation also doesn't allow machine harvesting - our olives are all harvested carefully by hand.
Of course, we also got our own hands dirty and swapped our desks for gloves and aprons for a few hours to climb into the trees and harvest olives. Three experienced harvesters need 15 minutes for one tree - it took six of us over an hour. The result of this long, hard day was five harvested trees and 100 kg of olives, something we're very proud of. By the way, this amount only produces 13 litres of olive oil.
Salvador, the olive grower, and Josep Maria, the owner of the oil mill, watch our efforts with a grin...
Immediately after harvesting, the olives are brought to the oil mill to clean off the leaves and any dirt. Afterwards the olives are cleaned in a home-made "washing machine" construction, which is designed to use as little water as possible.
The cleaned olives are then put into the oil mill. Until a few years ago a traditional mill was still used with millstones, but nowadays they work with a modern hammer mill. It may be somewhat less romantic, but has enormous advantages in terms of taste. Different to millstones, hammer mills generate no heat through friction, which would cause the oil to lose its unique, delicate flavour. Finally, besides Arbequina olives, fresh rosemary, red peppers and lemons from Josep Maria's garden are also fed into the mill for authentic essential oils. Afterwards, the oil is coarsely filtered; another important distinction to mass production, where the oil is pressed through nano-screens and not only loses all the turbidity, but also the individual taste of the oil. At the end of our journey, the olive oil is now bottled, and the bottles are then glued by hand and packaged in gift boxes.
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