Questo articolo è il risultato della collaborazione tra SapereFood e Umbra Institute, filiale italiana di alcuni college e università statunitensi con sede a Perugia. Dopo un approfondimento sul settore agroalimentare e sullle tecniche di scrittura giornalistica, gli studenti di Umbra Institute hanno visitato alcune importanti aziende della regione, raccontando la loro esperienza sul campo e contribuendo a diffondere la qualità alimentare dell’Umbria all’estero.
by Brianna Covington
Meeting Francesco Gradassi, owner of Marfuga olive oil company, located in Campello sul Clitunno, Umbria, is a pleasure because you can explore, in depth, the mechanisms that go into creating the high-quality olive oil. The process begins in October when the olives are a brilliant shade of green, just before ripening. This is contrary to old practices when olive harvest began in early November. These old practices were implemented years ago, as the olives produced larger yields of oil when over ripened. That’s because Marfuga’s goal is not quantity but quality. They don’t just produce olive oil, but a high-quality olive oil.
To achieve their goal, the company produces an oil from the ‘Moraiolo’ tree. A varietal cultivated more often, which can withstand more than other varietals, both heat and cold. Though, it is not just the tree that aids in accomplishing a high-quality oil. The climate in which the tree is planted, as well that the soil in which the roots grow, are fundamental for the quality of the product. These trees grow smaller, however, there is a larger quantity of trees growing in Marfuga fields in order to produce the premium olives, which are pressed into the finest oil. Watching workers hand pick the olives from their trees, visitors can understand the delicate nature attached to producing such a first-rate product. It is not just about the tangibles of having the finest olives, riches of soils or the purest first pressing but the passion. The passion that goes into loving what you are doing and doing what you love.
Walking around the field of olive trees and listening as Gradassi explained the mechanics of olive oil production, a light sparkles in his eyes. It is evident there is a passion for what he is doing. For example, when he explains the importance of time when cultivating an upscale oil. The entire process from harvest to press takes up to an hour. First we begin with the harvest, then the olives are washed. After, the machine crushes the olives and slowly mixes the oil. After a long morning in the field and watching the machines press the oil, visitors can stay inside for an olive oil tasting. Gradassi has created an environment unlike any other, similar to that of a winery, as many places do not have an ‘indoors’ for oil tasting. This is a pleasant surprise and definitively adds a unique element to the overall experience.
Marfuga’s goal to produce high-quality olive oil is not only about the product itself, but also the experience associated with the consumption of the product. To become one of the best producer in the world, is making the best of best. Selected varieties. Perfect climates. Rich soil. And most importantly, passion. Let it be known, Marfuga Olive Oil, has done well in accomplishing this goal.