1. How are the olives picked from the trees?
Our olives are carefully hand-picked from the trees by men on high ladders and packed into baskets called "macacos".
2. Why do the best olives come from Spain?
"Spain" is to the olive what "Columbia" is to the coffee bean. The finest olives are grown in the South of Spain, where the soil is red, rich in both clay and chalk, and retains moisture. Quality soil combined with a warm, sunny climate create the optimal grown environment, which produces the most delicious olives. Today, 94% of the green olives imported to the United States come from Spain.
3. How long has Spain been exporting olives?
Olives were first exported from Spain in 1567. However, olives have been cultivated since early Biblical times.
4. What criteria determine whether there will be a Good Olive Crop each year in Spain?
The climate in May, when the trees are in blossom, is the most critical factor to predict the success of the season's olive crop. If the wind is too strong or the weather too cold, the olive harvest will be smaller.
5. How many types of Spanish table olives are there?
There are two basic types of Spanish table olives: Queens and Manzanillas. Both types of Spanish table olives can be purchased plain, pitted or stuffed.
6. What size are Manzanilla olives?
The Manzanillas are smaller than the Queen olives. The size of the Manzanilla olive defines how they are classified: 180/200, 200/220, 240/269, 280/300, and 340/360. These number pairs represent the total number of olives that are contained within a kilo (i.e. 240/260 means that one kilo will contain approximately 250 Manzanilla olives). Manzanilla olives are sold in the proportion of 80% stuffed with peppers, 10% without stone, and 10% with stone.
7. Is it true that the larger the olive, the sweeter the meat of the flesh?
Actually, the smaller Manzanilla Olives are known as the most delicious.
8. What is the average crop harvested from a Manzanilla Olive tree?
At present, with the irrigated system, 88 lbs. is the average crop from a tree, but in good years it can be as many as 150 or 200 lbs.
9. What is the difference between a table olive and olives used only for making fine olive oil?
To start with, the trees are different, which you can tell by the leaves. Manzanilla olive trees have clear green leaves; Queen olive trees have silvery green leaves; and olive trees for olive oil have small, dark green leaves and smaller fruit. Smaller olives give a higher olive oil yield (each 220 lbs. of these smaller olives produces 24/25 lbs. of olive oil), whereas the Manzanilla olives give much less oil. The oil of the Manzanilla olive is of a fine quality, but it is not economical to produce. The least oil per kilo comes from the fat Queen olives.
10. When are the olives gathered?
Starting in September, olives are picked by hand to avoid bruising. Harvesting often continues through the end of November.
11. How long does it take before an olive tree will bear a satisfactory amount of fruit?
Under good conditions and modern irrigation systems, olive trees take at least 10 years before they are mature enough to yield a satisfactory harvest. The peak production years for an olive tree are between 30 and 70 years old.
12. When did Spain begin stuffing olives with Pimientos?
Pepper or pimiento stuffed olives were originally introduced in Spain in 1895. Pimiento-stuffed olives were first exported to the United States in 1896.
13. What is the difference between "place" packing and "thrown" packing?
"Place" packing is when the olives are carefully positioned in layers inside the jar, with the pimiento stuffing displayed. "Thrown" packing is precisely what one would imagine, with the olives filling up the jars however they fall. After both packing methods, the olives are covered with brine and safety-sealed.
14. Once a jar of olives is opened, is there any way to keep the olives really fresh?
Yes. Olives are best kept in the refrigerator. One freshness tip is to place slices of lemon on top of the olives, allowing the slices to float on the brine. The juice from the lemon slices will stop the oxidation, thereby extending the fresh quality of the olives for an additional six months. An alternative tip is to add a few drops of lemon juice to the brine to keep them fresher.
15. Can I freeze olives?
Yes. It is a good idea, especially if you have no room to keep them in the refrigerator.
HOW TO FREEZE OLIVES:
Rinse the olives well to remove the salt absorbed from the brine. Pack into polyethylene containers and cover the olives completely with water. Freeze for up to six months.
HOW TO THAW FROZEN OLIVES:
Thaw the container of frozen olives (keep covered) in the refrigerator. Once thawed, keep the olives refrigerated and use within three weeks. Do Not Refreeze the olives.
16. Why are olives salty tasting?
The salt that is added to the liquid (brine) during the packaging process acts as a natural preservative. The saltiness can be reduced by rinsing or soaking the olives in water before serving.
17. What are those white spots doing on my Queen Olives?
Remember, olives are a fruit. Just like other fruit, if apples, peaches, strawberries, bananas, or other fruits have some marks on the outside skin, it's usually due to growing conditions. When harvesting olives under extremely dry conditions, the Queen Olives (which have more sugar) will have a very strong fermentation process that results in white spots. During the years in which we receive a bit of rain prior to harvesting the olives, the Queen Olives show no sign of white spots.
The reason white spots develop on Queen Olives and not on Manzanilla Olives is due to the olive oil content. Manzanilla Olives have a much higher olive oil content (14-24%), while Queen Olives have a very low olive oil content (4-8%). Queen Olives also have more sugar.
18. Do Branded Olives have better fruit than private label?
No. The olives come from the same tree. Only first quality olives are permitted to be shipped from Spain.
19. What is the retail seasonality of Olives?
|SALES PERIOD CASES SOLD
|Jan – Mar 15%
|Apr – June 20%
|July – Sept 17%
|Oct – Dec 48%
20. What is the normal shelf life for your items?
It depends on the item, but typically the shelf life is 2-3 years.
21. Can you place a Best By or Expiration Date on your product?
Yes. We currently require "Best By" dating for the majority of our food items and will format the date code per our customers' specs.
22. When are your items packed?
It depends on the item. Please refer to our "Calendar of Seasons", which shows the packing season for all of the items we supply.
23. Can you mix the different food items together?
It all depends on the food item and where the products are coming from. For example, you can mix the Chunk Light Tuna and Solid White Tuna together. However, you cannot mix the Tuna and Mushrooms together because they come from different countries. Our Seasonal Calendar lists the main countries where our imported food items originate. For mixed food items, please contact us directly to confirm.