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Aceite de las Valdesas

  What is Organic Olive Oil?


Organic olive oil is olive oil produced following the European regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products (EU Regulation 2018/848).

We are going to be a little more specific.


What is the difference between an organic olive oil and a conventional one?

Las Valdesas produce Organic olive oils and Integrated Production olive oils (a production scheme between conventional and organic production). The differences between organic and conventional are mainly based in the way of cultivation and managing the olive grove according to the following aspects:


1) Pest Control. Organic cultivation does not allow neither the use of pesticides nor synthetic pesticides. On the contrary, alternative methods must be used, such as traps, encourage the proliferation of natural predators of the pest, use of olive-tree varieties resistant to frequent or endemic pests, or heat treatments (as used against Verticilium). It can also be used in a restricted way an approved list of natural products (animal, vegetable, microbianor mineral) to fight against pests.


2) Weed Control. Like for pest, synthetic herbicides are not allowed for weed removal. Some organic farmers graze herds of sheep or goats among the olive groves to eliminate weeds. It has the added advantage of the organic fertilizer as a contribution to the soil. We harvest the herbs and remove them from the olive trees feet by using manual machinery.


3) Fertilizers. Organic olive oils farms cannot use synthetic fertilizers. (Urea Ammonium Nitrate, etc.). It can only be used organic fertilizers, from animal origin (manure) or vegetable (compost). In our case, we use alperujo from our mill to produce a compost that we incorporate the soil after a maturation process of about a year. Under our point of view, it is more expensive, since the application and extension of compost is considerably more expensive than entering urea in the irrigation water or by foliar application.


With all the above requirements, we are capable to produce organic olives. The following measures must be taken during the organic olive oil production process:


1) In the reception at the mill and during the drafting process, olives and olive oil must always be in contact with stainless steel, rubber food (for the conveyor belts) or resins food. We began doing it more than ten years ago, when we started with the olive oil of Integrated Production.

2) In mills like Las Valdesas which grinds ecological olives and integrated production olives, it is necessary to fulfill a strict traceability process by controlling when you mill each type of olive. This aspect was already required in Integrated Production.

3) Analytical tests in pesticide residues to confirm that olive oil is free of them.We have been doing such controls for many years in our integrated production olive oils, in which the result has been always the absence of them.



Does organic olive oil have a better taste than a conventional one?

Let us be clear in this point: We are convinced that the production of olive oil following the organic methods does not add more quality compared to other produced by conventional means.

The key aspects to produce a high quality extra virgin olive oil, such as getting olives in perfect health conditions, harvest them at the right moment of maturation, milling them quickly after harvesting, at a low extraction temperature, and preserving the olive oil against oxidation is not the responsibility of organic way of farming. More can still hinder their achievement.

We are convinced that an experienced olive oil taster in a blind tasting test in not able to distinguish an organic extra virgin olive oil from another extra virgin oil of conventional production.

In other organic products, such as eggs, chicken, or meat; the fact of being from ecological production can contribute to their quality and that could be appreciable by the consumer, but in the olive oil we believe that it is not possible. We think so because conventional extra virgin olive oil is already a natural food, it is olive juice, and it has neither preservatives nor additives.


Then, why to buy organic extra virgin olive oil?

We believe that there are two reasons:

1) For health and food safety. By consuming organic virgin olive oil you have the safety and confidence of consuming an olive oil without traces of pesticides or other contaminants.

2) To contribute with its purchase to the sustainability of the environment, with a production more respectful with the natural resources.


Is it the same ecologic olive oil, biological olive oil and organic olive oil?

Yes, all these terms refer to the same product, produced according to the ecological agriculture rules.

In some countries like Spain, it is more used the word "ecologic", whereas in France they prefer "biologic". In Germany both terms are used at the same time.

European regulations cover both terms, ecological and biological, and allow to use both, "Bio" and "Eco" in their labelling.

Organic” olive oil is used as a synonym for the previous two but is not collected in the standard labelling.

Another adjective that is also heard is "biodynamic", coming from the world of wine. All we know is that to be able to put the biodynamic word to a product, it is necessary that it has been certified as ecological previously.


How are organic food producers controlled?

The European Regulation (2018/848) specifies that the control to the producers of organic food is carried out by a control agency, ie private companies authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture to certify that the producer follow all the European regulation requirements.

They request documentation from the producer and perform field audits to detect possible frauds: they check machinery, tools, take samples of soil, leaves and fruits if they consider it necessary. They also carry a control of the traceability of the ecological olives until their production into olive oil in the storage.

The control agency that certify the olive oils of Las Valdesas is CAAE (Andalusian committee of Ecological Agriculture), which even having that name,is a private company. It is the most experienced company in Andalusia about organic farming.


Labelling of organic olive oil

Organic olive oil must have in its labelling the European logo and the code of the control organism that certifies it. It should also be explained whether the product is of European origin or not byindicating "EU agriculture" or "non-EU agriculture". In our case it is "ES-ECO-001-AN" and "EU agriculture".


UE Logo for organic agriculture products

It is optional to add the control agency logo.


Las Valdesas ecological olive oil

Las Valdesas ecological olive oils comes from the enlargement of our fields, when buying a plot next to it. It is a surface about 34 hectars of Hojiblanca and other two parts of Arbequina intensive olive grove.

It was bought in 2015 and it is necessary that the field be worked for three years under the regulation of organic farming before certifying its olives as ecological. So, in 2018/2019 we will already have organic olive oil available for sale.

It will be available as a coupage of the two commented varieties and only in a 2,5 litre can format.

In the map below you can see in green color the situation of the new ecological plot inside our olive tree fields.