Athena's Gift - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 
 
 
 
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Welcome to Athena's Gift
 
Q. How did you get started?
Q. How did you come up with the name “Athena’s Gift”?

Q. Do you use green or black olives?
Q. How are olives harvested?
Q. How is olive oil made?

Q. Can you explain why some olive oil is called “Extra Virgin", or “First Cold Press”?
Q. Where can we buy your olive oil?
Q. Do you recommend any good resources for more information about olive oil?

Q. How did you get started?
A. It was a dream of Anne’s, inspired by an article about olive oil that she’d read in the early 1990s. She looked into buying a small plot of land to grow about 10 to 15 trees, but was unable to afford it on her salary. She had almost given up on the idea. Then one afternoon shortly after her marriage she presented the idea to her new husband, Paul, who loved the idea immediately. It took almost two years to find the right property and to begin fulfilling the dream.

Q. How did you come up with the name “Athena’s Gift”?
A. Paul and Anne both enjoy history and mythology, and they had heard the story of a contest between Poseidon, god of the sea, and Athena. The winner would become the patron god of the area we know today as Athens. Poseidon conjured an eternally running stream of water. But Athena merely stomped her foot and an olive tree sprang from the ground. An olive tree can be used for many things, from lamp oil to medicines, so it easily won out over a stream of water. It seemed like the perfect name to give something so elegant and so simple.

Q. Do you use green or black olives?
A. This is a very common question, but all olives start out being green, then turn red, purple, and black. Each color represents a stage of ripeness. The grower decides at which point to harvest to get the optimum flavor from the oil. Most growers like to see a half green to half purple/black, with some red.

Q. How are olives harvested?
A. Olives are still best harvested by hand, although much progress has been made with machine harvesting, and by the use of hand-held harvesters that reach into the tree and gently pull the olives free.

Q. How is olive oil made?
A. Olive oil is made by crushing the olives into a paste, pits and all, then spinning the paste in a centrifuge to separate the oil and water mixture from the solids. One last spin then separates the oil from the water. Some mills still use millstone, which is still very effective. The less heat used in the process the better.

Q. Can you explain why some olive oil is called “Extra Virgin,” or “First Cold Press”?
A. The terms “Extra Virgin” and “First Cold Press,” which can be almost interchangeable, are used to indicate how much processing has gone into rendering the oil from the olive. First Cold press is exactly that, the first oil to come off the press without any extra pressure, or in some cases, chemicals. When we see the two terms together, it merely emphasizes the quality of the oil. The grading of olive oil is an excellent guide for what to use it for:

  • “First Cold Press/Extra Virgin” oils are excellent in place of butter with any meal.
  • “Virgin” is also excellent, and might depend on personal taste.
  • “Olive oil” is much lighter in taste and color, and used for frying or flavoring dishes.

Q. Where can we buy your olive oil?
A. We have our website, of course, and you can reach us at the address or phone number on the Home Page. We would love to hear from you!

Q. Do you recommend any good resources for more information about olive oil?
A. Of course! We recommend you visit www.oliveoilsource.com for all kinds of great information about olive oil.

 
 
 

Athena's Gift | PO Box 454 |Gustine, California 95322 | 209-631-1137

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