Rhizoma Olive Farm, high quality extra virgin oil from Greece
Tasos, can you talk about your olive oil production?
Rhizoma is an innovative olive oil exporting company which promotes the Mediterranean Diet and culture.
We are a group of EVOO enthousiaste, most are members of my family who are trying to combine the traditional techniques and methods of agronomy of olive cultivation with the latest science has to offer in this field of research.
We are constantly trying to improve the quality of our products and at the same time do this sustainably by reducing the carbon footprint of our company next to zero. We produce our own compost, we use Deep Irrigation to reduce waste of valuable water resources, we collect the winter rain from the roof of our buildings and we try to educate the younger generation about the values of a balanced diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids found in Rhizoma.
This is usually done using my other love which is teaching. I teach Biology in the International Baccalaureate of a private school in Athens and with my students we are constantly trying to communicate the enormous benefits of real EVOO consumption to the public.
We are the proud estate owners of almost 22 hectares of olives (more than 2.200 trees) 3-400 years old. Our main cultivar is “Koroneiki” and the older trees are “Manaki” a variety that is usualy found in our the SE Peloponnese.
Rhizoma team members are from 18-49 years old and every member is allocated with a specific task. We are trying to look 20-30 years in the future and not just for the next harvest season so that we leave a legacy for the next generation of Rhizoma Olive Farms.
Can you describe the taste of your product and the match with greek typical recipes?
Rhizoma Olive Oil has a deep green appearence, with a fruity and peppery taste, complex oil with hints of artichoke and freshly cut grass odour. It tastes very pleasant and it can harmoniously combine most of the Mediterranean dishes, cold or hot, fish or meat but it enhances a great deal a freshly cut green salad.
Most of our friends prepare “pesto” with Rhizoma and they tell us that it makes an invigorating dish that keeps them going for most of the day. Our EVOO is a balanced synthesis that enhances the beneficial properties its high phenol content, our region’ s unique microclimate, its invigorating properties and most importantly the passion of its producers.
Rhizoma EVOO is an elixir of life, fragnance and health; an authentic organic product produced with a lot of attention and a bit of poetry in an elegant and safe packaging ready for export to all potential EVOO lovers around the world.
In Italy we have an open debate about the oil falsification. Do you have the same problem in Greece?
EVOO falsification in Greece has not been a problem so far mainly because we produce all we can consume and most of the people have a small orchard in their “home-town” so they know that the olive oil they produce is not falsified. Bigger companies lately due to the large quantities of bulk oil exported in Italy and the shortage of production in Spain, they must be tempted to blend good, early harvest EVOOs with other oils of lesser quality to produce bigger volumes.
But as I told you earlier, these are all speculations or estimations if you like that are in accordance with numbers issued by the IOC about global production of EVOO. There have indeed been several cases that individuals have brought this issue of falsification to the public domain but in most cases it was hard to follow as it was “burried”.
You need to bear in mind though that most of the olive oil produced in Greece (up to 80%) is extra virgin so there is no need for producers at least to falsify it. You need to bear in mind though that most of the olive oil produced in Greece (up to 80%) is extra virgin so there is no need for producers at least to falsify it.
Sometimes when we talk about foreign oil we don’t think it is of good quality. Can you say some word about this “myth to dispel”?
I have tasted some amazing Italian, Spanish, Morocan, Tunisian and even Californian olive oils that prove to me that olive oil is a juice produced by the squashing of a fruit.
I love tasting different olive oils and try to imagine in what kind of conditions the trees were growing, how gentle was their owner when he prunned them, how quickly they ended up in the mill, and how much attention has been given the final production of the olive oil. For me this is an endless journey which I love to share with other sommeliers in order to disqualify this “myth” that for example “only Greek olive oil” is the best.
This claim is not serious at all for someone who respects the labour and the anxiety of an olive farmer. It is true that there are olive oils that are organolepticaly better than others but this is not down to a country to produce it but down to the love of the individual producer regardless of where this producer is located.
I have been lucky enough to have travelled in Italy extensively and to have good Italian fellow producer friends that keep telling me exactly the same thing. They have invited Rhizoma to actualy participate in the Masters Of Olive Oil International Competition 29th of March – 1st of April in San Remo.
Is it possible to taste or buy your oil in Italy? Where?
Unfortunately, you can only buy Rhizoma in Germany and in Belgium so far. But you can buy it online from an internet-gourmet shop if you click in our website. Using our website you can see all our selling points. Finally, we are really looking forward to enter the Italian market as I think is the most competitive market as it is brimming with some of the finest olive oils in the world.
We have been approached by a few Italian distributors but we haven’t yet reached an agreement because as you know the olive oil market is a dynamic market full of pleasant surprises.