Harvesting Our Olives

November is a very special month at our organic farm. Verdura Societa Agricola has 2360 olive trees and November is when we harvest their olives to make our olive oil. There are over 10 different types of olive tree (with hundreds of varieties of olives), and at Verdura, we grow three of Western Sicily's most common species.

The Cerasuolo is intense with a medium fruitiness and a bitter, spicy olive taste.

The Biancolilla has a lighter taste, slightly bitter with hints of artichoke and a light spiciness at the end.

The Nocellara is vibrant and robust, grassy, herby and very spicy.

Here is what it takes to harvest our olives:

  • We place large nets under our trees, so that the olives don’t fall and get left on the ground and to ensure that only the fresh ones are harvested.
  • We handpick our olives using a small rake called a ‘manina’, which is passed through the branches like a comb.
  • Then we gather up the nets and transfer the olives into hessian jute sacks.
  • The olives are then taken to the mill. It’s important that they are milled on the same day, so that the fresh aromas remain and the oil is of the highest quality.
  • First, the olives are washed and separated from any leaves before being ground into a greenish paste.
  • The paste is pressed and goes into the separator, which extracts the oil from any water and, well, separates it.
  • Then the best part... The giant faucet is opened and emerald green oil flows into stainless steel tanks.
  • In the evening, family and friends who have helped with the harvest are treated to a tasting of the new olive oil. Warm ‘muffuletta’ (soft, round bread rolls) is served with the oil, anchovies, and caciocavallo cheese.
  • Finally, the tanks are sent to our lab in Trento to be used in Irene Forte Skincare products.

The Magic of Olive Oil

We describe our products as the Mediterranean Diet for your skin, and with good reason. The Mediterranean Diet is widely considered to be one of the healthiest in the world and one of the star ingredients is olive oil. As is the case with Irene Forte Skincare; olive oil is included in all but four of our products because it’s a bit of a magical ingredient. It’s rich in essential fatty acids which enable the skin to retain vital nutrients, thereby improving skin hydration. The high levels of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and polyphenols, help to protect the skin from free radicals present in the environment and promote cellular renewal.

In our skincare range, we also include the unsaponifiable part of our olive oil. What does this mean? This component of olive oil is a super special ingredient because it’s rich in a little something called squalene. Squalene is a natural antioxidant that can help reduce wrinkles, eliminate scars, reverse UV damage and erase skin pigmentation, all whilst fighting free radicals. Last, but not least, the unsaponifiable part stimulates the fibroblasts in the dermis which produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which are all incredibly important for defying ageing. Sounds like an ingredient you definitely want in your skincare routine!