• THE STORY
How it all began
My name is Giuseppe, and I have been working and living in Oxford (UK) for more than a decade now. I work for the University, but recently, I have started an olive oil project in my spare time, outside of working hours. I am originally from Sicily, and I come from a family of farmers. As tradition wants, the land is passed on from generation to generation, and I recently inherited a small olive grove planted by my great-grandfather more than a century ago. I hope that one day it will become my son’s. In 2017 we had a bumper harvest and were left with a lot of surplus olive oil. The olive oil we produce is just for us and the family, but that year we had so much that we didn’t know what to do with it. So I asked around to neighbours, friends and colleagues, and to my surprise I received a lot of interest, way more than I was hoping for! With this encouragement, my wife and I decided to design a logo for a proper bottle and with the help of a friend we created a website. Deciding to expand beyond the workplace, we spent a few weekends going to local events (olive oil tastings, church fairs, Christmas fairs, pub markets, etc.) where we met a lot of lovely people. In fact, what I like most about this project is that I can meet a lot of fantastic local people, while providing the community I live in with healthy real extra virgin olive oil, the provenance of which can be easily traced. I am also trying to have a social impact not only in Oxford but also in Sicily, giving work during the harvest to local unemployed people and also migrants, ensuring they are paid a proper wage. Because of my work I cannot be there during the harvest in October, but my family and friends have been helping me so far.
The 2018 Harvest (last year)
Unfortunately with organic farming you occasionally do get lean years, and last year we didn't have enough olive oil surplus to share. So I thought: in order to make this more of a social enterprise, what would be nicer than involving other local farmers, people I have known all of my life, whose great-grandfathers knew mine? With your help we bought their surplus olives and used them to make the olive oil for 2018. After all they were the same type of olives, carefully tended by people I know and trust. It was great working with other farmers, and I would like to thank all the supports in the UK who made this campaign a reality.
The 2019 Harvest (this year)
In the last couple of years the interest in our organic extra virgin olive oil has grown beyond my acquaintances in Oxford. The occasional local fair and last year's Kickstarter campaign have meant that now our olive oil has been shipped to happy foodies from Land's End to John o' Groats, and therefore those few ancient trees can no longer produce enough surplus olive oil to satisfy the current request. That's why, also for this year, we plan to produce our olive oil in a collaborative way, with the help of the same local farmers as last year: and of course once again we'd need your precious help to make this happen.
• THE LABEL
The name “ogglio” means “oil” in Sicilian. We don’t really make any distinction with other oils, as olive oil is such a staple of Sicilian cuisine that it doesn’t need any introduction (or clarification). We decided to go for a simple label on purpose, without adding complicated language or information that you don’t really need (but can be made available if requested). After all this is pure extra virgin olive oil, a type of naturally long-lasting fresh fruit juice, nothing else is added to it. No technical terminology means no confusion, and no ugly logos (for DOP or EU Organic) means a better looking bottle that will look fabulous on your kitchen table. Also, we proudly mention the month and year of production in the front of the label: you’ll find that on very few extra virgin olive oils that are sold in supermarkets.
• THE TREES
The trees in my own olive grove were planted more than a century ago by my great-grandfather. Although a lot of the groves in the area where I live have a similar story, many are younger and were planted in a more efficient way (more trees per hectare, pruned to be shorter, etc.) but they are all the same tended organically and with great care. The groves are situated on land between two small villages in Sicily called Poggioreale and Salaparuta.
• THE OLIVES
The Nocellara del Belice is arguably one of the World finest olive cultivars (i.e. variety); indigenous to the Belice Valley in Western Sicily, it is a dual-purpose olive, grown both for oil and for the table. Such olives are a beautiful lime green with a mild, buttery flavour: they are ideal to make a medium-strength Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is a prefect all-rounder, and can be used for cooking as well as raw on salads, dips and many other dishes. The Nocellara del Belice olive has a PDO status: this is a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ status designated by the European Union. A PDO refers to olive oils with “exceptional properties and quality derived from their place of origin as well as from the way of their production.” The olives used for our olive oil are always collected early during the picking season (this year in October), producing an intense "early harvest" oil, as the olives are less ripe and produce a smaller in volume, but higher in flavour olive oil. Last but not least, we know exactly where those olives come from: no dubious provenance here!
• THE OLIVE OIL
Our organic extra virgin olive oil comes from the Belice Valley in Sicily from olives grown, harvested, and cold-pressed (at less than 25°C) locally, on the same day of picking, within a five-mile radius from the grove. This artisanal olive oil is not too strong, but rather medium-flavoured with a fruity taste, a grassy scent, and a peppery finish; it tastes as if you have just squeezed the freshly picked olives with your own hands, unsurprisingly, since it’s basically a naturally long-lasting fresh fruit juice rich in healthy nutrients: antioxidants, vitamin E, polyphenols, you name it. Being a pure extra virgin, the acidity of our olive oil is exceptionally low, always lower than 0.8%, usually around 0.5%. We plan to make an olive oil that is 100% organic: we’ll use only olives that haven’t seen pesticides, been irrigated or traumatised in any other way (they are to be harvested entirely by hand). Also, we’ll produce it only by mechanical means (milling the olives in a malaxer): we would never dream of using disgusting solvents or chemicals!
• THE ENVIRONMENT
We are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, so please do refill and reuse those bottles, which is much more eco-friendly than recycling. Also, if you do not wash the bottle but keep on adding olive oil (nothing else, of course), over time it will acquire a very special homely taste. Furthermore, by buying those 3 litre cans you’ll save quite considerably on the price of the olive oil (around £30 per litre for the bottles, £15 per litre for the cans!).
• USE OF FUNDS
Raising £7,500 is essential to getting this project off the ground; this target must be reached, as under Kickstarter rules, achieving our stated funding goal is all-or-nothing. The time period is short: the campaign closes on Sunday the 3rd of November 2019 @ 23h59
The funds will be used to:
- Buy the olives from the growers in Sicily
- Press the olives locally
- Bottle the olive oil
- Create the labels
- Ship the olive oil to the UK
- Extras (fees, postcards, etc.)
• SOCIAL MEDIA
Please feel free to send over any questions or comments and we’ll do our best to answer you as quick as possible. Our email is: email@example.com
• THANK YOU
We would like to thank you for taking the time to check out our Kickstarter page! We greatly appreciate any contributions towards helping us produce this delicious Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We look forward to sharing our love of olive oil with you!
You can check our website in the meanwhile: www.ogglio.org
Your contribution is paramount for us to make this social enterprise project happen. Many thanks for your help!
Risks and challenges
We have already sorted everything out, so in theory this campaign shall run as smooth as oil. Essentially you will pre-pay for the olive oil that you'll get after the harvest. The only risk is not reaching our target, in which case you will be refunded your pledge entirely (but won't get any olive oil). If this campaign is successful and we reach our budget you will get your olive oil timely as promised (that's before Christmas). So please share the link to this campaign with as many people as you know to make it possible! THANK YOU :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter