There are many reasons to come and visit our beautiful area even in autumn, one of which is to live the experience of olives harvesting. The olive tree is native to Asia Minor (12000 BCC.) and made its appearance in the Mediterranean in 3000 BCC., as evidenced by the representations in the frescoes of the Etruscan tombs and archaeological finds. And that is why those who arrive in Maremma Toscana are immediately impressed by the care with which the countryside is kept and by the cultivation of olive groves that fill the rolling hills that degrade towards the sea. The cultivation of olive trees in Tuscany has now reached 120000 ha cultivated mainly in the Chianti area (famous for wine) and Maremma. The major varieties cultivated and accepted by the Tuscan PGI specification are Leccino, Frantoiano, Pendolino, Maurino, Moraiolo, Raggio (present only in old olive groves) and a maximum of 5% canino (typical of the Hills of Laziali). The start of olive harvesting has always coincided with the month of November, although seasonal changes have anticipated the harvest already in the middle of October. The collection is currently no longer carried out by hand but with the help of mechanical facilitators. For this, the harvest time is tightened to just over a month. In past years, however, the harvest was also prolonged up to Gennaio and in the memories of the older ones there is the phase of “edging” (a term used more in the harvesting on the ground of wheat ears after harvesting) with which the olives in addition to being harvested on the plant were also harvested on the ground, but this made the oil virgin and not extra virgin due to the high acidity. The harvested olives are cleaned of leaves and branches, after which they are transported and milled within 24 hours at the mill in order to avoid too high acidity. Transport and storage must take place in larger boxes or containers called bins, never in bales as the oil could take on the smell of “cooked”. At the end of the processing (washing, crushing, glamping, pressing) the oil is divided by the so-called vegetation waters using a centrifuge and from here through containers, it is led to bottling. Olive oil, together with wine, is therefore one of the symbols of this land and many gastronomic events that can be found in our beloved Maremma are dedicated to it.
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