Consumers are still too often unaware of it: since 2004 Nîmes olive oil has been granted an AOC: Designation of Controlled Origin. A guarantee of quality, the recognition of an ancestral Gard land!
Because the Gard concentrates all the ingredients favorable to the cultivation of the olive tree: a filtering soil, made of a layer of pebbles and a subsoil of red clay, the sun, and temperatures which drop sharply at the beginning. of winter.
A precise blend of olive varieties
Several varieties ofolives ripen in Gard orchards. Mainly Picholine, whose typical flavor (full-bodied and slightly peppery) made it possible to obtain AOC and which is 70% in the composition of AOC oils. But also 'Aglandau' and 'Négrette' which sweeten the taste of the star variety, but some producers also opt for monovarietal oils.
Since the recognition of the appellation, the Nîmes orchards have been expanding rapidly. The Gard currently has around 3,900 hectares of olive-growing area dedicated to the production of olive oil, or 8% of the national olive-growing area, making it the 3e producer department.
An olive culture established over time
Planted in early fall or spring, young trees are pruned at three years old. They give their first olives at five years old, with a full harvest after eight years.
The discreet flowering of olive trees occurs in late May. In July, the fruit of the olive tree grows larger, the stone of the olive hardens; The oil appears in the olives in August, then they accelerate their growth until September - October when the first green olives are harvested. At the beginning of November, the color of the olive changes (it is veraison), and the varieties of olives intended for oil are harvested until January.
Whatever the variety, a green olive is an unripe olive, unlike a dark olive, with more or less pronounced tones depending on the variety. We will choose it according to the intensity of taste that we want to give to the oil. Barely ripe olives will provide more aromas and polyphenols, almost black olives will provide better oil yield, but more muted flavors.
- Find our sheet dedicated to olive tree cultivation
- Health: health benefits and virtues of olive
Mill of Villevieille in Sommières (30250) Tel. : 04 66 80 03 69
Mill of Costières in St Gilles (30800) Tel: 04 66 87 42 43
Gard Tourism Committee: www.tourismegard.com
By Marie Petitcerf