discover the provence

Olive oil

olive oil production

In Provence, the olive tree is the ideal tree for this area with Mediterranean temperatures and soils which are not very fertile.
In the past, most olive trees were planted directly into the soil. Today, farmers are increasingly resorting to grafting.

The cultivation of olive trees can prevent certain natural hazards, fighting against soil erosion. It also serves as a firewall against the great fires of the South.
Olive tree growing is also an important economic resource in Provence, especially in the Alpilles.

Watering the olive tree

Olive trees do not like extremely damp lands. Most of the old plantations were not irrigated. Today, some farmers, for the sake of regularity of production, water the olive tree.

How to plow the soils

Plowing is done between 10 and 15cm. The objectives are to ventilate the soil, to bury manure and fertilizer and eliminate any larvae of the olive fly.

How to maintain an olive tree ?

Concerning fertilizers, the olive tree is a very simple tree. Long ago, manure was widely used, but it has become increasingly hard to find.

When to prune the olive tree ?

Pruning the olive tree is necessary to ensure a maximum of fruit and to prevent the spread of parasites. Maintenance pruning is carried out every year and fruit pruning every 2 or 3 years.
Trimming takes place between MAY and JUNE when the first leaves are blooming.

The olive harvest

The olive harvest is in September for the production of broken olives and in October for traditional picking.


The production of olive oil is all natural. It does not require a chemical transformation.
There are two different techniques:
  • The Traditional method by a pressing system that provides oils which are labeled 1st cold press.
A Modern method by a centrifugation system, used most often to get oils with no defect, presented at professional competitions.


Olive oil is composed of different flavors, in Provence, you can find:

  • In Haute Provence and Aix en Provence : the Aglandau, a complex flavor which is a mix of apple and artichoke.
  • In Grasse and Nice : Cailletier, with a flavor of fresh almond
On certain farms, called "nobles" because they are very rare, Grossane with a flavor of red fruit, grapefruit and tomatoes
  • In the Valley of Les Baux, you get unique flavors thanks to the blending of different types of olives to obtain either a: Fruity green with flavors of almond, artichoke and greenery or Fruity black with aromas of artichoke, cocoa, strawberry jam, black olives and sourdough bread.

Olive oil is consumed within the year (18 months maximum).


Olive oil is the key to success for Provencal food preparations.

Olive oil is used by top chefs, notably to give value to dishes. The fruity green is generally used as seasoning, using only salt and pepper to appreciate its natural taste. The fruity black to give a unique flavor to hot dishes, fresh fish and tomato sauces.

A good aioli can only be made with a good olive oil: that’s the secret!!!