Inovations in Milling Techniques
At Frantoio Grove, we work to always improve our practices to improve the quality of oil we produce. We've been working on some changes and are excited to talk about some of the methods we've been working on and hope to expand on in the future.
Minimum Viable Time/Temperature Processing. After the olives are crushed, they are gently warmed and kneaded to prepare the paste for extraction. The olives are vulnerable to oxidation at this point.
EVOO Quality standards limit the temperature in this step to 84 degrees F and “malaxation” times to about 60-90 minutes. Although these guidelines can produce fantastic oil, Frantoio Grove limits this to 70F and 30 minutes, meaning the oil that is produced is extremely fresh and aromatic.
The Separator Bypass. Most modern mills use a two step centrifugation to extract and clarify the oil from the paste. The second centrifuge is very effective at removing small particulate matter before filtration, but the water used in this machine is known to strip the oils of beneficial “polyphenols” and “aromatics”. Patrick and the team at Frantoio Grove designed and built a mechanical pre-filter to bypass this step.
The oils that were milled with this method showed a notable increase in flavor and aroma - they were imbued with a more layered complexity and a lively “sparkle”. We are excited to see this technique continue in future harvests.
Sparging. We store our oil under nitrogen gas to protect it from exposure to oxygen and keep it fresh. This year we designed and built a nitrogen gas sparging system to infuse the oil with micronized nitrogen bubbles as it is leaving the filter, ensuring an absolute minimum of oxygen in the oil and preserving freshness.