Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Organic Olive Oil ?

A lot of people ask us if our olive oil is organic. Yes, it is. However, this takes some explaining because there is no organic certification on the bottle. Francesco asked me if we wanted the organic certification and we had a long talk about it. For small farmers like the Suatonis, this means a big expense and a lot of red tape. After a long discussion, we decided that getting the certification would only raise the price of the olive oil without bringing any additional value.

Having worked with Francesco Suatoni for a number of years pressing olives at his mill, I knew he wasn't using pesticides and that his production and cultivation methods were as traditional and 'clean' as they get in Italy. In addition, Amelia is well above sea level and because of the altitude (400 m) the olive trees are less susceptible to pests and disease.

In Italy, there are many organic certification methods which can be costly and have questionable standards. There has been little effort to create a standardised system and these programmes tend to favour big agri-businesses, who can afford to invest in what turns out to be largely a marketing gimmick. As this report from Agri-Food services Canada states, there are 9 Italian regulatory organisations!

There may not be a seal of organic certification on our bottles but we can vouch for the organic nature of our product.



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