` Corsican Oils are 'Tree Harvested' or 'Old Style'

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Corsican Oils are 'Tree Harvested' or 'Old Style'

Mar. 3, 2015
By Aldo Pesce

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The L’Huile d’Olive de Corse-Oliu di Cor­sica is a PDO prod­uct and a source of pride for the inhab­i­tants of the French region. But olive oil of Cor­sica must not be con­sid­ered as only one.

The Union of Pro­duc­ers, announced at the Agri­cul­ture Exhi­bi­tion” meet­ing in Paris this week, that olive oil of Cor­sica will be clas­si­fied from now on in two dif­fer­ent types: récolte sur l’ar­bre (har­vested on the tree) and Old Stykle (har­vested the old way). Each prod­uct will be labeled accord­ing to the har­vest process .

The first type is obtained by press­ing olives col­lected directly from the tree. The olives are fresh, with a fla­vor of almond, arti­choke or tomato, accord­ing to the union.

The sec­ond type is an olive oil extracted from fruits that have fallen down from big old trees, too high to allow man­ual or mechan­i­cal col­lec­tion being; they are often 15 – 20 meters high and hun­dreds of years old.

From those nat­ural giants olives fall nat­u­rally and are col­lected in nets lying on the ground. It is an old method that takes sev­eral months, said Antoine San­toni, a pro­ducer from South­ern Cor­sica who said oper­a­tions could fin­ish in the month of June.

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The taste of the olive oil obtained the old way” is, of course, sweeter and has notes of black, ripe olives.

Once fallen in the nets, the olives need to be milled in less than nine days, added San­toni.

Research has shown, how­ever, that allow­ing the olives to ripen to the point of falling and wait­ing days before press­ing them are not ideal con­di­tions for obtain­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oils

Those big trees and the tra­di­tional har­vest­ing meth­ods are con­sid­ered parts of the rich her­itage of the island that Cor­si­cans want to pre­serve.

The har­vest dis­tinc­tion is a vol­un­tary one for pro­duc­ers and en effort by the Union in response to calls for more trans­par­ent and clear label infor­ma­tion. The strat­egy enables pro­duc­ers to inform con­sumers and tell a bit more of the story behind the prod­uct and of their land.

This was a good year for Cor­si­can olive oil. While its Mediter­ranean neigh­bors have faced one of the worst har­vests of their lives, Cor­sica, the sunny, wild island in the Lig­urian Sea, was an excep­tion. 170 tons was the total out­put of annual olive oil pro­duc­tion. A 21 per­cent growth over the aver­age pro­duc­tion of the island.


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