Brazil Looks for Its Own Olive

As debate revolves around whether or not Maria da Fé is an olive species unique to Brazil, both traditional mills and technologically advanced machinery have contributed to the increased quality of olive oil here.

Apr. 25, 2017
By Jun Cola

Recent News

In 2008, Brazilian olive grow­ers extracted their first liters of olive oil. Almost a decade later, these gourmet EVOO pro­duc­ers are still work­ing dili­gently to estab­lish a client base.

Brazil’s olive oil van­guard took root in two main regions, Serra da Mantiqueira (Minas Gerais) and the south­ern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Olivas do Sul, Batalha de Ouro de Sant’Ana, Oliq, Cardeal, Prosperato, and other EVOO brands have since emerged, find­ing suc­cess in local and regional mar­kets for the fresh­ness of their prod­uct and knowl­edge that buy­ing local not only boasts the econ­omy but, more impor­tantly, reduces our car­bon foot­print.

But Brazil’s bur­geon­ing EVOO iden­tity also hinges on the prospect of its arable land and har­ness­ing its ter­roir to pro­duce its very own olive cul­ti­var.

Roughly 70 per­cent of olives har­vested in Brazil are of the Arbequina vari­ety. The other 30 per­cent are divided between Frantoio, Grappolo, Koroneiki, Picual, and a pecu­liar species, Maria da Fé, which was planted decades ago in Serra da Mantiqueira.

While the Company of Farming Research of Minas Gerais (EPAMIG) attests that Maria da Fé is an olive vari­ety unique to Brazil, some olive grow­ers argue that its char­ac­ter­is­tics are too sim­i­lar to its mater­nal vari­ety, Portuguese Galega.

As debate revolves around whether or not Maria da Fé is Brazil’s own, Marcelo Scofano, a self-pro­claimed olive­ol­o­gist and pro­fes­sional olive taster said five olives with unique qual­i­ties have emerged from the ter­roir in the city of Pelotas (Rio Grande do Sul).

Maria da Fé olives

Five genetic sam­ples have been sent to lab­o­ra­to­ries in Portugal and other Mediterranean coun­tries. They’re primed to be declared as indige­nous, not pos­sess­ing an iden­tity with the orig­i­nal vari­eties,” said Scofano, adding that the olive is cur­rently under­go­ing reg­is­tra­tion at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture.

Over the past decade, both tra­di­tional mills and tech­no­log­i­cally advanced machin­ery have con­tributed to the increased qual­ity of olive oil in Brazil.

During the period pro­duc­tion has jumped to roughly 53 tons in 2016, how­ever, it has been the irrev­er­ent exper­i­men­ta­tion of plant­ing olives in Brazil’s bio­mes that have gar­nered the most inter­est.

Guava and other mature and herba­ceous fla­vors have since been noted among Brazilian olive oil brands. Such dis­tinc­tive aro­mas have helped local EVOO pro­duc­ers to con­sol­i­date their pres­ence in local and regional poles in the coun­try. And new edi­tions, born from the land and ecos­phere south of the equa­tor, may be on the hori­zon.


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