Orhanli Stone Pressed | Lithographic olive oil

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In our village, we grow our olives with traditional methods and produce olive oil with the olives we pick by using stone pressed olive oil technique. Here, not only traditional growing techniques, but also stone pressed (lithographic) olive production technique dates back to the natural culture that has been going on for hundreds of years. In this culture, there is an understanding that is competent with nature and respectful to all living things when agriculture and production is concerned.

In the Aegean region, our village is one of the rarest traditional stone pressed olive oil production site, which has remained until 2014. However, the way the olive is grown is as important as its production with the stone pressed technique.

In order to grow olives, first of all we vaccinate the wild olives. We pay attention to the height of the wild olive sprouts that will be coming out of the vaccinated wild olives so that the goats do not harm these sprouts. We do this also because we use these olive groves as meadows during the summer months. During the harvest season on the other hand, with the local olive prohibition the goats pass onto the forest area. The goats’ grazing in the groves enables both fertilization and prevents the roots of the groves from getting bushy. And also, this way two products can be produced in the same area.

Because the wild olives only sprout in places most suitable for them, their root structures are healthy and also their roots can grow deeper in the soil. Once the wild olives are vaccinated their roots become the roots of our groves. The strength of the roots of our groves raises their endurance against drought and eliminates the need for irrigation. Olives that are not irrigated are also resistant against plant diseases and bugs. And this enables us to do production without using pesticides. Because the wild olives especially sprout on slopped fields we do not use any heavy ploughing processes. With horses we only plough the upper parts of the scree. Scree, is an example of an agricultural architecture, which is made of rocks and it is used to keep the olives’ water capacity.

We do not irrigate, we do not use electricity, manure, and pesticide or fuel, so this means without any costs we produce healthy olives for the living things in nature and for people. Besides this, we make use of our groves as meadows during summer months. We know that chameleons, warblers and many mammals live in these groves.

We crush the olives that we produce with traditional methods using stone pressed olive oil technique and this way produce our olive oil.

During stone pressing olives get crushed for about 30 minutes and through this the burning flavors in the olives are moved away. Because low temperature water is used during stone pressing, mineral and vitamin loss is kept at a minimum level. On the other hand, olives get crushed with natural stones and this prevents metallic flavors from passing on to the olives. Therefore, stone pressed olive oil has a different kind of pleasant smell and unique taste. And also with this kind of a production process, which rests upon “passing rights” to each other as a culture, we protect consumer health, the natural sites where olives grow beside the living things, and the producers’ rights.

Despite that stone pressing’s labour and processing costs are very high in comparison to modern machinery costs, the sales prices are the same. Therefore, while in the past there were three factories that worked with stone pressing system in the village, today there is only one left. This is valid for the entire Aegean region and Turkey, too.

Therefore, thanks to our village’s and the neighboring village; Beyler’s efforts to perpetuate the culture of lithographic olive oil and the local market demand, the lithographic olive oil production has been able to last until today. Regarding the foreign markets, the distinction and the real value of the olive oil was revealed in the summer of 2012 by the Orhanli Village Association and Seferihisar School of Nature and the trademark registration was taken under the name “Orhanli Stone Pressed (Lithographic) Olive Oil”.

Currently, we are eager to provide an extra income for our village by marketing the locally produced olive oil to a higher price. Because we are selling it to a very low price which is way below of its real value. As the olive oil is not sold to its fair value, we don’t give the deserved care to the olive orchard. When we need money, we sell off the orchard. The new owners, being unaware of the oil production know-how of our village, harm the hundred years old olive culture by tilling the soil and stringing up wire fences around the olives trees.

Seferihisar Municipality has been always supporting us in terms of marketing. Now, our products are directly delivered to the consumers through the website www.seferipazar.com designed by Hidirlik Cooperative Agricultural Development and slowly reaching its real market value. In addition to that, we keep working on finding new trade channels.

We believe we will not have to sell our olive orchids if we are able to get our olive oil off to the consumers with its real value. This way, we desire to protect our village, our culture, our centennial olive oil trees and the other livings with which we share our olive orchard.

Translators: Hüsne Çiğdem | Muazzez İset

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