Šoltan olive growers, relatively small certified ecological family farms, all in the system of protection of origin:
Anka and Zlatko Burić are the pioneers of Šolta in cultivating organic olive trees. Their groves currently have 150 Šoltanka variety trees and 100 Oblica variety trees. Both Ankica and Zlatko are retired and spend every free moment in a beautiful olive grove overlooking the neighboring Vis and Hvar islands. Anka is an educator and a chef, and Zlatko is an engineer of architecture. Their wish for their grandson to eventually establish his permanent residence on “the most beautiful island in the world”.
The largest olive oil producer in Šolta, Filip Marinković, a maritime engineer, with 300 Šoltanka trees, and 200 Oblica, which he planted and cultivated together with his mother Dragica and father Marin, excellent olive growers who spent their entire lives cultivating olives. His goal is to have 1,000 trees and to excel as a professional olive oil evaluator.
Alen Jakupčević with 240 trees has been an organic olive oil producer since 2011. He has truely dived in cultivation of olive trees 15 years ago when he fell in love and got married to a resident of Šolta: he completed training for olive grower, winegrower, and winemaker. His ideal is living from agriculture and tourism, which is also a practical solution for living on the island of Šolta.
Andro Purtić has a master’s degree in history and lives in Vienna. He now comes to Šolta more and more frequently to take care of his small olive grove with 120 trees exclusively of the Šoltanka variety. He wants to continue and improve the production of completely healthy olive oil.
Bernardin Peroš, former university professor, dean of the faculty and vice-rector of the University of Split, today professor emeritus, in addition to his profession, has always been involved in olive growing on the family farm. He is in the last year of the transition to organic production. Nowadays he cultivates 140 Šoltanka trees and 80 old Oblica trees. He transferred his professional ambitions to olive growing with the aim of leaving a mark in this field as well.
Nikola Cecić Karuzić, Mayor of Šolta for the third term, otherwise a mechanical engineer, spent his professional life in management positions in the metal industry. His family has been engaged in olive growing since they can remember, and he and his wife Marinka keep 200 Šoltanka variety trees. He is in the last year of the transition to organic production. Nikola’s goal is for his son and many other youth from Šolta to get involved in the production of organic extra virgin premium oil.
“Our olive oils have emerged from a relatively small, but climatically and geologically complex and diverse area of the island of Šolta. Now you have the opportunity to be creative and enjoy these oils in hundreds of combinations with top dishes” as stated at the promotion in Split. Zlatko Burić, a member of the agile olive association “Zlatna Šoltanka” that has acquired the European protection of the originality for Šoltan olive oil in 2016, points out: “Some of the oldest defined goals of the Association” Zlatna Šoltanka ” are to affirm Dalmatia as a top olive growing region, improving production, and raising quality of Dalmatian olive oils. We searched for and found like-minded people: enthusiastic, ambitious and diligent Dalmatian olive growers and experts, who have already been working in their own way on the same goal, and with whom we have developed the brand and perfected production.
WHEN ARE OLIVE OILS CONSIDERED TO BE A NUTRITIONAL ALIMENT?
Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia have participated in the ARISTOIL project, which should contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of Mediterranean olive oils. The primary idea of the Aristoil project was to analyze oils from 5 Mediterranean countries in terms of phenol content and phenol composition, since phenols are considered to be major components of olive oil contributing to the health aspect. Back in 2012, the European Union recognized and acknowledged this health aspect in terms of prevention of vascular diseases, based on a series of scientific studies. The EU then set a minimum phenol concentration of 250 milligrams per kilogram of oil. The results of this project showed that Croatian oils have extremely high potential in this regard, even among all partner countries, we had the highest percentage of oils that met this legislation, said project coordinator prof. dr. Ph.D. Tea Bilušić from the Faculty of Chemistry and Technology, University of Split. As much as 97 percent of Croatian oils have an increased proportion of phenols, with an average share of 655 milligrams per kilogram, of the minimum 250 set by the EU. Spain has 95 percent of the oils that meet this requirement, and their average phenol content is lower – 521 mg / kg. Greek oils are at about 70 percent, Cypriot at 60 percent, and Italian at 55 percent, with their average phenol content significantly lower. Over the three years, from 2016 to 2018, 4,000 samples were tested to see the phenol content and their compositions. Professor Bilušić explains that phenols are a large group of compounds, some of them characteristic only of olives. One of the most interesting is the oleocantal, which is responsible for the spiciness of the oil, and it is an anti-inflammatory compound that is considered extremely valuable for chronic diseases.
Yes, the EU has recognized olive oil as beneficial for the circulatory system, but Professor Bilušić said that phenols also affect diabetes, rheumatoid and neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, aging, liver disease, epigenetic changes and alike. Olive oil is a functional food and we wanted to see if it was time to label such a product, not only as a nutritional product but also as a medicinal one. This could be an avenue for olive growers, between the pharmaceutical and food industries, to market a product of greater market value, said Professor Bilušić. The advantage of our oils is that the oil is generally processed the same day, which is difficult to achieve, she said, with intensive production. Olive growers from the Šolta Olive Growers Association GOLDEN ŠOLTANKA also participated in the project. The results of the analysis showed that Šoltan olive oil is at the top of the list of all participating countries in terms of phenol content: Average values are over 1,400 mg per kg of oil, and one oil contains as much as 1,900 mg!
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