Forward-thinking and progressive, the Bläuel enterprise is a perfect example of companies to come. The atmosphere at our headquarters is one of extreme ease and efficiency. Composed of a small group of diligent professionals who interact like a friendly family, ours is a winning team, through and through. We have a great ethos, we pour love into everything we do, and we place enormous emphasis on working in an environment which is organized, structured and positive.
The birth of an enterprise
The Bläuel story is a fascinating one - a story full of good will, great ambition and positive energy.
From our extremely humble beginnings in the late-1970s when Greece was still a somewhat distant and exotic land, to our present-day triumphs in a country which today sets an example to all its European neighbours, our story has a wonderful moral, for it is the essence of the human spirit and it is the endeavour for something better, something greater, in a world where much good is still needed and sought-after.
"What do olives have to do with all this?" you may ask. Quite a lot actually, if you consider the fundamental importance of good food and health, of agriculture, the environment, and rural society - attitudes, philosophies and ways of living which directly and indirectly affect us all on a daily basis. Where it was once the norm, organic farming has become a luxury, a specialty, a quirk, a radical thought, a sociopolitical tool. This 'new' way of thinking today gives us something better and greater.
Ecological and socioeconomic benefits
To date, around 300 farmers have joined the scheme and over 300,000 olive trees are involved in the Bläuel project. 500 farms have been converted to organic farming. It takes approximately three years to convert a farm to entirely organic production, a lengthy process that requires much support, which explains why we also sell oil and olives from farms under conversion.
Nobody ever predicted the effect this would have on the environment. Nobody ever foresaw the dramatic rise in the percentage of organic matter in the soil of organic orchards or that more insects would be seen again and that birds and other small animals would thrive - living proof that a healing of the natural cycle of nature is possible.
The network of Bläuel-contracted farmers is now well-established and continues to grow. Our farmers produce organic olive oil in accordance with the most stringent criteria of organic cultivation, but no one ever dreamed it would have been so successful on the market... Naturally, this has not just rendered the company successful but the farmers happy too.
Our company is the largest employer of the area, and the fact that so many secure their income from organic farming has enabled hundreds of people to continue living in their home-villages without being forced to migrate - a movement which has previously led to the depopulation of the countryside. This means new life in the villages, preservation of the traditional agro-environmental landscape, and excellent prospects for future generations.
Out of the groves and into the bottles
Connoisseurs know the many factors involved in harvesting and producing cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil of the highest quality: a good location for cultivation, a special type of olive, professional pruning of the trees, correct pressing methods, optimised storage and careful filling to preserve the true flavour.
These factors are decisive, not only for measurable qualities such as acidity, peroxide value and refraction in UV light but above all for what pleases the senses - special flavours and aromas with all their nuances.
We owe the secret of our quality to the unique combination of certain local conditions: the intense sunshine, the low rainfall and a rocky mountain soil which lies at close proximity to the sea. These factors produce a distinct type of olive which yields what is recognisably one of the best oils in the world.
The Mani olive harvest begins towards the end of each year. With hard manual labour, our valuable fruits are hand-picked, sorted, and then immediately taken to be cold-pressed in the traditional stone mills of the Mani. It is always a magic moment when the first gold-green oil flows from the olive press.
At the mills, the perfume of young olive oil is as evocative as freshly-cut grass and the olive growers talk in subdued voices as they wait for the moment of truth. Rough chunks of bread are broken from loaves, dipped into the fresh gold-green oil and, in absolute silence, the first critical taste of the year’s harvest is evaluated. Heads nod in appreciation and faces break into beaming smiles as they approve the result of their long labours: another good year! And after this the celebrations...
Why Koroneïki olives yield the best olive oil
For millennia, the olive tree has been cultivated and harvested for its special and unique-tasting fruit: the olive. There are many different kinds of olive trees and the olives that each species produces varies in colour, size, texture and flavour. This also applies to the olive oil they yield. Apart from being a delicious accompaniment to many dishes, olive oil is also the healthiest condiment available to humans and its medicinal properties have been long-documented and proven. For these reasons, certain kinds of olives are more prized and sought-after than others: amongst these are the renowned Koroneïki olives which grow only in Greece.
What sets the fruits and oil from Koroneïki olive trees apart from the dozens of other varieties and what elevates their quality to the highest levels, is the unique method of cultivation that is employed here in the Mani. Unlike many other crops, they are not watered artificially and they are pruned intensively once a year by trimming the branches quite severely in order to keep the trees small. Whilst elsewhere the usual oil yield is approximately 10 liters per tree, in our area the Koroneïki yields only 1 to 3 liters of purest green gold. Quantity is sacrificed to produce quality. The particular flavour, perfume and richness of the oil that these olives produce is very special and unique indeed.
A special place
The Mani is a spectacular region located on the southern Peloponnese coast of Greece. Set dramatically against a backdrop of crystalline aqua-blue waters, majestic cypress trees, wild olive groves, verdant rolling hills and distant snowcapped mountains, it is a stunning area that overlooks the calm waters and splendid sunsets of the southern Mediterranean Sea. At just 3 hours and 30 minutes' drive from either the capital of Athens or the port of Patras, and only 45 minutes' drive from the city of Kalamata, it remains an ecological haven, remote and unspoiled, a region of exceptional light, grace and grandeur, with vistas that are still retrospective and spacious.
Bläuel company headquarters is located in Pyrgos-Lefktrou, just 50 kilometres southeast of Kalamata, and only a few kilometres up the road from the beautiful seaside villages of Stoupa, Kardamili and Aghios Nikolaos.
The Mani® superior quality: certified freshness and goodness
Bottled under our exclusive registered trademark Mani®, only the best ingredients go into our line of organic products. Their freshness and goodness is constantly monitored to ensure that Bläuel products remain perfect. This superior quality is continually endorsed by accredited independent certification bodies, but the accolades that count most come from thousands of consumers who remain faithful customers. Deliciously healthy, Mani® olive oils, olives and hors d'oeuvres are simply the best!