When Sant Elia was purchased in 2004, there were only 20 mature olive trees, all of which were in desperate need of care and attention. With the help of Guiseppe, a local farmer, these trees were were pruned and nurtured and eventually have returned to being prolific producers of olives.
Prior to the renovation of the house another 145 trees were planted and a further 200 in 2012. Sant Elia now boasts 345 Olive trees. The trees are flourishing and harvests are increasing every year. A mature olive tree can produce 15-30 kilos of olives equating to 3-6 litres of oil.
The olive harvest takes place in early November. It is labour intensive and consequently requires all members of the family taking part. The olives are collected into crates and taken to the local Frantoio where they are pressed.
Sant Elia olives are pressed in a batch process using mechanical means only; no heat or chemical extraction methods are used – a process, which has been used for generations. Our extra virgin olive oil is unfiltered, retaining its opaque, verdant colour and individual taste. To appreciate its flavour, the oil should be consumed within one year from the pressing. The oil will eventually clear leaving a little sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Similar to wine, olive oil has many different flavours and qualities depending on region, variety and soil. Sant Elia olive oil is smooth with a faint hint of pepper and an aroma of freshly mown grass.