The Benefits of Organic Raw Olive Oil
The probiotic bacteria of the Lactobaccili strain can be found in the brine and on the surface of the olives, and are responsible for the white “biofilm” we see sometimes in our olives. This film is formed due to the high concentration and availability of sugars, amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients during the process o fermentation, providing the ideal environment for the survival and growth of these bacteria. Our olives are lacto-fermented preserved in brine and not exposed in high pressure treatments or pasteurized.
Taking under consideration that we hand pick our olives, preserve them in spring water with organic vinegar (which is actually home made) and low salt concentration, they are not exposed in harsh conditions (temperature, sterilization) and we see the “biofilm” formation, all these are indicators that the probiotic bacteria are at least active and kicking in our olives.
Demothensis Chronis, PhD
After the Greek revolution of 1821, and the liberation from the Ottoman occupation, the land was sold to the Greek people by the leaders (captains) of the revolution. It was that time, in 1856, when Nikolas Chronis, our great grand father, upon his arrival from the United States settled back to his hometown Goritsa and purchased a piece of land, next to the river Evrotas that runs through the valley of Sparta. He planted a few hundred olive trees and patiently cultivated them to support his family.
Nikolas Chronis, our great grand father, with his wife Katerina
When Nikolas died, his son George took over the family’s extensive land holdings, and became a respected member of the community and Lakonia. He was elected mayor over a twenty year period was responsible for some of the most important public works projects in both Goritsa and Tsintzina, because of his organizational skills, his tireless efforts, and most importantly, the high esteem in which he was held among the Tsintzinians in the States.
The valley of Sparta as seen from Nikolas Chronis’ balcony in Goritsa
His honesty was unquestioned, and his desire and ideas to improve the quality of life in both towns was unmatched. He was honored as one of the most effective mayors in Lakonia by King Paul of Greece. He read and kept up with agricultural literature. Fascinated by the Israeli’s success with desert irrigation, he was one of the first to use drip irrigation in southern Greece.Our grand father, George Chronis
Our grand father George passed away in 2002, and the fields continued to be cultivated with the same passion by his son Nikolas. Our father Nikolas, a retired cardiologist, is overlooking the fields and making sure the tradition continues as his grand father had envisioned.
Today, four generations later, George and Demosthenis Chronis, the great grandsons of Nikolas Chronis are proud to make the olive oil from these olive trees available to everyone.
from the Chronis Family Tree by JoAnn Pavlostathis (great grand daughter of Nikolas Chronis)
Today, the Olea Estate is home to an increasing number of olive trees that all four generations attended to and worked hard to keep alive through droughts and freezes.
We hand pick the olives only when they are ripe on the tree, transport them straight to the village spigot a couple of miles down the road, wash them thoroughly and cold press them.
Only olive oil from the first press makes it to the glass and tin containers of Olea, where the rich, full flavor of the oil remains sealed for you to enjoy.
There are no preservatives, additives, colors or any kind of foreign oil added to Olea. We do not further refine byproducts of the first press to produce more oil.
Here is the most important part of the process: Even 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil like this will be cloudy right off the press. This is because it contains tiny particles of olive flesh and skin that remain in the oil during the pressing process.
These particles have to be removed, to ensure a uniform clarity and no cloudiness. To get rid of these particles all mass produced olive oil goes through a filtering process that separates these particles from the oil or eliminates them using chemical treatment. Along with the particles goes some of the olive flavor and nutrients.
At Olea we patiently use a natural process to retain the full olive oil flavor but still guarantee the clarity of filtered olive oil. We seal the olive oil in stainless steel tanks and let it sit idle for 60 days in special temperature and humidity conditions. During this time the particulate matter naturally settles to the bottom of the tank. After two months we extract the olive oil from the top of the tank and ship directly to the USA. Of course, this is not possible for mass produced olive oil as the overhead of two months, the tanks required to do this job and the work involved (including cleaning the tanks at the end of the season) would prohibitively increase the cost in a competitive market. However, we use this olive oil to feed ourselves and we do not like feeding on chemicals (even though they are obviously safe for consumption); we also sure appreciate the full flavor of unfiltered olive oil.
This process guarantees an extra low acidity, full, rich olive oil flavor and the best nutritional value. Find anyone in this market who can claim they use the same process to produce their oil! Ask the question of whether the olive oil is filtered or unfiltered.
To prove our claims and guarantee our consistent quality year after year, we send our olive oil for analysis after every harvest season from every tank before we ship. We challenge you to find anyone that can provide documentation like this at our price point (or any price point for that matter).
We are one of the few producers that certify our olive oil every year with both the European Regulations for Biological Products and with the USDA for Organic Products. We also certify our bottling facility.
You can taste and see the quality of pure first press olive oil, when you open a bottle of Olea and dip your warm bread in it. The deep green color, the thick consistency, the pure aroma, the exquisite taste, all contribute to separate Olea from other oils in the market today.
We continue to extract our olive oil from the same trees, in the same way, with the same care for over 150 years. We invite you to experience Olea straight from the heart of Sparta and to taste the difference for yourself.
George and Demosthenis Chronis started Olea Estates in St. Louis, MO in 2009. At the time the wholesale price of the olive oil in Greece was almost double of what it was costing our family to produce it. Most farmers were making a profit only out of selling the olives and would press the ones they could not sell as olives into olive oil and cut their losses. They would also tend to not pick the olives over multiple pickings at the right time to save on cost, not to mention the use of fertilizers and insecticides to boost production. Our family refused to apply any of these tactics, but the fields were no longer profitable and we were on the verge of selling. Our family, however, is emotionally connected to the fields and we do not only see them as a money maker. We have all worked in these fields to make a living and raise funds to study.
George and Demosthenis decided to try and sell the olive oil in the United States, since they live and work here since 1996. It seemed that middle men would take large profits every time the olive oil changed hands, because the price of organic olive oil the US was decent. Their efforts came to fruition and today we can offer our organically produced olive oil to you at a competitive price without compromising the quality, by eliminating most links between the producer and the consumer. Here are the people that make it happen:
George Chronis is one of the two brothers of the last generation of the Chronis family. He holds a PhD in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and owns two other companies in the Computer Science/Computer Engineering fields. He is based in St. Louis, MO but travels to Greece often to tend to the fields, prepare the production and bring it safely to the US.
Demosthenis is George’s younger brother. He is based in Ithaca, NY and holds a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology. A former researcher for the USDA, is helping with the distribution in the North East States and with the website, graphics and social media. He is also an equal partner in Olea Estates.
Nikolas is the father of George and Demosthenis. He lives with his wife, Georgia, in Sparta, Greece, about 15 minutes away from our fields. He is the grandson of Nikolas Chronis who purchased the fields in 1856. He takes care of the fields, oversees production, pressing and bottling. He is a retired MD, with a PhD in Cardiology. He has always been a farmer on the side mainly working with orange trees and our olive orchards.
Karl is the main distributor in the United States. He is based in St. Louis, MO, but travels thoughout the US to introduce our olives and olive oil to all of you. He has been with Olea Estates since the very beginnig and we are all very lucky to have him. Karl is an organic producer with a passion for healthy and tasty foods. Olea Estates products were a natural fit to his way of life and enjoys spreading the word. With all of us being busy with production and caring of the trees, Karl is an essential person to represent Olea Estates in the US and make sure that everyone gets a chance to taste the flavor of an authentic extra virign olive oil produced with traditional organic methods for four generations.