Olio: oro verde del Monte Pisano
Extra-virgin oil is Vicopisano's green gold. Almost everybody likes to be around olives: it doesn't matter If it's just for having an olive tree in the garden or an entire olive grove. Vicopisano's inhabitants have a strong bond with oil, strengthen by tradition and love.
It's part of the local culture, which is why it's always a pleasure and a source of pride for everyone to be able to share its secrets, history, taste and organoleptic properties. For those who want to experience this passion at first hand, October and December are the ideal months get their hands dirty, during the harvest and all the various fascinating stages of the process of oil production.
The Municipality of Vicopisano, which is part of the National Association of Oil Cities, is home to two oil mills and a very high number of farms and private growers.. At the forefront of research and technological innovation, some producers have forged important partnerships with national research institutes to develop systems that track and enhance production, certifying that it's "Made in Italy" quality.
If you are planning a holiday in Vicopisano or in the surrounding area, take the opportunity to discover the exciting adventure of the harvest or take part in tastings and visits to farms or oil mills: ask the Tourist Office to point out the farms, agritourisms and 18th-century oil mills in the area. A word of advice: the sunset from the top of a Tuscan olive tree is something you can't miss, climb up!
The harvesting and pressing experience
In recent years, environmental and animal factors have complicated the timing of the harvest but, as a general rule, we can say that more an olive grows and ripens to its full glory, the higher will be the quality of the pressed oil.
"Fare le olive" (Making olives) - as they say here - is a job of patience and, when the time comes, of great effort, but it is also satisfying: on harvest days, the alarm clock goes off very early, comfortable clothes are worn and lunch and a packed snack are prepared. The characteristic terraces impose manual harvesting so, olive by olive, the boxes are filled and taken immediately to the oil mill: this is where the magic happens. The olives are weighed, stripped of their leaves, washed and they head to the first phase of extraction: pressing. This is followed by crushing and the various processes of separating the oil from the water. The smell released by the pressing is the smell of autumn in Vicopisano: an intense, pungent scent of olives that any Vicopisano resident is able to recognize.
Visits and tastings at farms and olive oil mills
While the harvesting experiences are concentrated between the end of September and the first weeks of December, visits to farms and oil mills can be scheduled throughout the year. Awaiting you there is a journey through olive groves, old millstones and the most modern means of extraction. Full of pride, the producers will not fail to let you taste the olio novo in the typical Tuscan bruschetta we call “fettunta” and in all the more modern flavored variants: lemon, chilli, rosemary, garlic and basil. But you can also be part of professional tasting demonstrations.
Olive oil mills in the territory
- “Oleificio sociale dei Monti Pisani” cooperative in Caprona: pressing, tasting and sale of products www.oleificiosociale.it