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Even with modern developments, agriculture is still based on the relationship between the land and its plants. But even the basics need to be attended to with care and craftsmanship, season after season, to create balance and personality for our extra-virgin olive oil.

 

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Pruning branches is an essential job. Doing this, we refresh, tailor and manage each plant. The cuts are treated with copper, a natural element that protects trees from fungus and other bacteria.

 

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Our organic cow manure comes directly from the farms of neighboring Modica.

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Nature is the first, relentless selector; Only 5 to 6 percent of flowers on an olive plant go on to become olives. Our main concern is to protect these potential olives from illness, from the time they flower, right up to the time that they're picked.

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We practice dry farming - dependent only on natural rainfall - to water our plants. As you may guess, in Sicily our trees are exposed to long periods of drought and very dry vintages may occur. In very rare cases, we practice emergency watering.

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Early every year, we anxiously wait for what's known here as Il Bianco - “The Whitening.” This is a sign of the shift in momentum for the tree; The olive suddenly chages color from the full green it's maintained for the previous months, into a delicate, paler shade, with magnificent, bright reflections.

Soonafter follows “The Darkening - the final stage before the fruit begins to ripen. The pale green becomes a violet hue that becomes progressively darker. When to pick is the most delicate question you could ask a farmer and the answer is very personal. For the best olive oil, the choice of 'The Moment' is crucial to define the oil's organoleptic profile.

 

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As soon as each plant has been harvested, the olives lie underneath the tree for a while to cool in the shade. This lowers their temperature and keeps them fresh before they are brought to the mill. As we will see, protecting the fruits from high temperature requires obsessive care during the entire olive oil making process.

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Everything we do in the mill is done to preserve the original flavour of the olive. This guiding concern inspired the design of our mill. The outcome was a state-of-the-art facility, dedicate to making extra-virgin olive oil. fruit cleaningBefore being crushed, olives are carefully cleaned with water. Fruit-crushing: the first delicate stage Our own rules require a two-stage fruit-crushing system which prevents the olives from heating during processing. Stage one: the fruit undergoes a first delicate pressing. Stage two: a second mill turns the olives into paste. The kneading machine is the heart of the mill: here, the olive paste is kneaded in a temperature-controlled vacuum. To certify our San Basilio® oils as “cold pressed,” this kneaded paste must be kept below 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 F), which preserves as much flavor as possible.

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To keep the paste from losing its aroma and flavor, it stays in the kneading mill for less than 30 minutes. The extra-virgin olive oil emerges and any remaining impurities are removed. The process we proudly refer to as "The Opera" is complete.

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A year's worth of work would be in vain if bottling was done without the same care we take in every step of oil making. We use nitrogen, both in the storage silos and on the sterile bottling line, to prevent the oil from oxidizing and keep its its fruity aroma intact. Thanks to this and the use of dark glass bottles, San Basilio® oils retain their unmistakable personalities sought out by both chefs and home cooks.