`Mavras Olive Oil Company Relies on Tradition, Terroir to Produce Quality EVOO - Olive Oil Times

Mavras Olive Oil Company Relies on Tradition, Terroir to Produce Quality EVOO

Jul. 29, 2021
Wasim Shahzad

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In the mytho­log­i­cal region of Küçükkuyu – nearby where Zeus watched the Battle of Troy unfold, accord­ing to leg­end – the Mavras Olive Oil Company pro­duces award-win­ning extra vir­gin olive oil.

The com­bi­na­tion of the unique cli­mate and ter­roir of this part of Turkey’s north­west­ern Anatolian penin­sula, four gen­er­a­tions of expe­ri­ence work­ing with olives and the lat­est tech­nol­ogy has helped set the fam­ily com­pany apart from a sea of com­peti­tors.

We have inher­ited more than 100 years of expe­ri­ence from our ances­tors and then mod­i­fied our pro­duc­tion meth­ods using the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.- Mehmet Betil, share­holder, Mavras Olive Oil Company

The Mavras Olive Oil Company is the rein­car­na­tion of an old fam­ily tra­di­tion. The brand name, Mavras, comes from the last names of the two found­ing fam­i­lies, who migrated to Turkey from Crete in 1934: Mavrazade and As.

Our brand name is the trade­mark of a fam­ily who migrated from Crete to the town of Küçükkuyu, which is shaded by olive trees,” Melike As, the company’s CEO, told Olive Oil Times. Our brand’s his­tory is the story of a fam­ily who is pas­sion­ately attached to olives and olive oil for four gen­er­a­tions.”

See Also: Producer Profiles

According to As, the qual­ity and unique essence of her company’s olive oil comes from the mature olive trees that grow at the foot of the oxy­gen-rich Ida Mountains.

Besides the high lev­els of oxy­gen in this area, our trees face south and are pro­tected from the extreme winds com­ing from the north,” As said. Hence, our olives gain a unique fla­vor nat­u­rally dur­ing their devel­op­ment on these trees.”

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Photo: Mavras Olive Oil Company

We have orchards where the trees are between 40 and 100 years old. The olives start grow­ing every year in April and begin get­ting ripe in the mid­dle of September,” she added. We start har­vest­ing in October and con­tinue for about two months. The olives get ripe at dif­fer­ent time peri­ods due to the posi­tion of trees in the moun­tains, which makes a dif­fer­ence.”

Maintaining the nat­ural taste and qual­ity, from har­vest­ing the olives to the pro­duc­tion of olive oil, is a cru­cial com­po­nent of the company’s vision. Extra care and pre­ven­tive mea­sures are taken to avoid expos­ing the olives and olive oil to any­thing that will spoil the qual­ity.

See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Turkey

Olive oil is very sen­si­tive to odor. If you pour it into a cup, put a slice of onion near the cup and leave them side by side for a while, the onion’s odor will be absorbed by olive oil,” As said. That is why we never allow our olives and olive oil to touch any­thing but stain­less steel and opaque glass.”

The qual­ity of olive oil will dimin­ish if it will be exposed to any of these five things: oxy­gen, plas­tic, sun­light, excess water and tem­per­a­tures above 24 ºC,” she added. Hence, olives are cold extracted in our fac­tory with no added water. The water that is inher­ent in the olives is also sep­a­rated from olive oil by our cen­trifuge sys­tem, and then it is fil­tered.”

africa-middle-east-profiles-production-mavras-olive-oil-company-relies-on-tradition-terroir-to-produce-quality-evoo-olive-oil-times

Photo: Mavras Olive Oil Company

After it is processed in the fac­tory, the olive oil is stored in stain­less steel tanks to pre­serve the qual­ity and taste. For the same rea­son, opaque glass bot­tles or tin cans are used for pack­ing when the final prod­uct is ready for dis­tri­b­u­tion. Besides this, air-tight caps are used to avoid expo­sure of the olive oil to the air.

Our olive oil, due to its unique fla­vor and purity is not only good in taste but high in health ben­e­fits as well,” As said. Hence, our prod­ucts are cel­e­brated by the con­sumers.”

In the strug­gle to main­tain prof­itabil­ity while pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil, As added that cli­mate change con­tin­ues to affect the olive har­vest sig­nif­i­cantly and thus the pro­duc­tion vol­ume of olive oil.

After a hot and dry year in 2020, the Mavras Olive Oil Company expe­ri­enced lower yields than ini­tially expected, but As empha­sized, the qual­ity was as high as ever.

We pro­duced 200,000 liters of olive oil last year, and this time we hope to har­vest 10,000 tons of olives to pro­duce 2,000 tons of olive oil,” she said.

Olive oil pro­duc­tion reached 210,000 tons in Turkey in the 2020/21 crop year. A com­bi­na­tion of many pro­duc­ers enter­ing an off-year cou­pled with extreme weather events led to pro­duc­tion falling just below the rolling five-year aver­age.

africa-middle-east-profiles-production-mavras-olive-oil-company-relies-on-tradition-terroir-to-produce-quality-evoo-olive-oil-times

Photo: Mavras Olive Oil Company

Along with cli­mate change, As said the Turkish olive indus­try is also vul­ner­a­ble to chang­ing con­sumer behav­ior and mar­ket trends, which fur­ther com­pli­cate the company’s efforts to pro­duce the best pos­si­ble olive oil blends each year.

According to share­holder Mehmet Betil, ris­ing com­pe­ti­tion in the indus­try is one of the sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges faced by Turkish pro­duc­ers.

World pro­duc­tion of olive oil is increas­ing due to new play­ers com­ing into the indus­try more fre­quently,” Betil said. This increas­ing com­pe­ti­tion has also inten­si­fied the pres­sure on prices, which is forc­ing many pro­duc­ers to mix their olive oil with low-qual­ity alter­na­tives, such as very cheap canola oil, sim­ply to reduce their cost of pro­duc­tion and sell at a lower price.”

Most of the price-con­scious con­sumers have no idea about the qual­ity of a high-stan­dard olive oil, and they con­tinue buy­ing those low-qual­ity prod­ucts which have flooded the mar­ket and dri­ven down the over­all price level,” he added.

africa-middle-east-profiles-production-mavras-olive-oil-company-relies-on-tradition-terroir-to-produce-quality-evoo-olive-oil-times

Photo: Mavras Olive Oil Company

But we will keep pro­duc­ing the top-qual­ity olive oil in our coun­try and will con­tinue tak­ing part in the world’s most impor­tant olive oil com­pe­ti­tion, since qual­ity mat­ters the most for our brand,” Betil con­tin­ued.

Part of the Mavras Olive Oil Company’s strat­egy to con­tinue com­pet­ing in the increas­ingly glob­al­ized olive oil mar­ket is to invest in the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to reduce costs and increase qual­ity.

The company’s lat­est invest­ment was to install solar pan­els on its mill’s roof, which helps lower pro­duc­tion costs and low­ers its car­bon foot­print.

Delicacy and qual­ity of our olive oil is the result of exten­sive care and pre­cau­tions which we use from har­vest­ing of olives to pack­ag­ing of our prod­ucts,” Betil said. We have inher­ited more than 100 years of expe­ri­ence from our ances­tors and then mod­i­fied our pro­duc­tion meth­ods using the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.”

Our prod­ucts are CERES cer­ti­fied organic, which fur­ther val­i­dates their qual­ity,” he con­cluded. We think that it gives us an edge over com­peti­tors in the mar­ket and will help us to beat the com­pe­ti­tion.”


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