Last week I had the privilege to work with Franco and Paolo Boeri, father and son, proud owners of Olio Roi, a family run olive mill located in my father’s hometown, Badalucco, Italy. The mill is specialized in the harvest and processing of the Taggiasca cultivated variety, producing some of the finest olive oil on the planet.
Paolo Boeri and his dad, Franco, stand in front of their motorized traditional olive crusher. The mill is also equipped with modern cold centrifugation extracting machinery.
Franco and Paolo hosted a much welcomed guest, Simone Greco, ambassador for F.I.C.O. (Fabbrica Italiana COntadina - Italian Farmers’ Factory) Eataly World, the greatest theme park for the promotion and sale of Italian Food excellency which is about to open in Bologna, Italy.
Simone Greco poses for the camera. Simone is a former professional bike rider. He embarked on a journey across Italy for his PhD dissertation in applied agronomy.
Simone is currently facing a national bike tour collecting hands-on experiences of all of the Italian food producers which will be hosted inside F.I.C.O. Eataly World. Besides Eataly, his main sponsors are the RAI National Italian Public Television and Bianchi, world renown bicycle manufacturer.
Franco checks the status of the olives in one of his groves above the village of Badalucco, as Simone carefully takes notes. Paolo, in the background, is also paying attention. Olive health and productivity are influenced by weather and the presence or absence of parasites such as the white olive fly.
Paolo shows Simone one of the mats on which the crushed olive paste is spread before being cold pressed for olive oil extraction. Quite a few olive farmers still prefer this traditional method, compared to the more modern and productive extraction obtained through cold centrifugation.
Franco offers Simone a sample cup of olive oil. Olive oil tasting provides a clear idea of the differences in aroma, texture and acidity of the finished product, which can vary depending on the different locations and conditions of the groves, particularly among olives of the same variety.
A detailed account of Simone’s visit is featured in F.I.C.O.’s official blog (only in Italian, sorry). You can follow Simone’s adventure on both Instagram as well as Twitter.
Simone and Franco pose for a picture after Simone's dedication signature for the company's "wall of fame", which can be seen in the background.
I’d like to thank Franco and Paolo for all of the hard work and passion towards a unique food product, and Simone for his much pleasant visit. Safe travels!