Temperature Controlled Storage & Ancient Olive Trees

Having a passion for temperature controlled storage takes our Technical Director Allen Strange to some fascinating places. Whenever that happens we remind him to take his camera! Recently he travelled to Italy for discussions with a customer about the supply of new cold rooms. Now that may not sound very interesting … but this was no ordinary customer and no ordinary location.

Allen’s journey took him to Lecce in southern Italy. This is a remarkable city with a history that goes back some 2,000 years. Lecce is famous for 2 things – the local limestone that it exports to many destinations and olive oil production. It was the latter that brought Allen to the area, to meet with a renowned olive oil producer.

In many people’s minds olive oil is┬ásynonymous with Italy but in fact the Romans were not the first to plant olive trees. Archives from the ancient Syrian city of Ebla dated from around 2600 BC testify to olives being grown and olive oil being produced in the Eastern Mediterranean. By the 1st century AD the Romans had become so passionate about cultivating olives that Italian olive oil was regarded by many as being the best in the whole of the Mediterranean.

This great sense of history and passion for the olive tree is what continues to inspire Italian olive oil producers today – and Allen’s customer was testimony to that. With great pride they showed Allen around their estate and pointed out some of their finest olive trees – over 600 years old! Here is one that Allen captured on camera – so big and broad that he couldn’t get it all in the frame without going way back!

old olive tree

Olive tree 600 years old

Having admired the wonderful ancient olive trees and the pride with which they are lovingly cared for and cultivated, the serious business of controlled temperature storage was discussed. Having 600 year old olive trees that produce high quality olives is a wonderful starting point and implementing the best oil extraction techniques is the next step. However, once a high quality olive oil has been produced it needs to be stored before bottling. Many producers, especially of extra virgin olive oil, choose to bottle only to order. So the storage of their olive oil can be for long periods of time. In this respect, olive oil storage is similar to temperature controlled storage for wine.

When it comes to olive oil storage 3 factors are key if the oil is to retain its quality and nutritional benefits:

  • avoid contact with light
  • avoid contact with heat
  • avoid temperature fluctuations

The first two points are usually taken care of by using large capacity storage tanks but how do you avoid temperature fluctuations? By housing the tanks in a temperature controlled environment. This is where we come in and where Allen’s expertise of more than 30 years offers tremendous benefits to our customers.

Allen left Lecce having learned about ancient olive trees and their care but he also left behind a customer happy to be in his care for the supply of suitable new cold room facilities. We love stories with a happy ending ­čÖé