De Rustica Estate, named after the small Southern Cape town, De Rust and a book by Roman author Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella that was, for more than 1000 years, considered in the ancient Western World as the bible of professional agriculture. In fact, Columella dedicated a number of chapters in  De Re Rustica to the olive tree.

While the ancient Greeks used olive oil to light their lamps, Rob Still hopes his estate, De Rustica, will light the way for a world-class olive industry in the heart of the Klein Karoo.

Surrounded by World Heritage Sites and unique floral diversity, De Rustica Olive Estate is situated deep in the picturesque Swartberg Mountains of the Southern Cape.

De Rustica is a triple gold award winning olive estate that focuses on blending perfection and creating only the best quality extra virgin olive oil. Our extra virgin olive oil can compete with the very best from anywhere in the world!

De Rustica was founded by Mr. Rob Still, a successful South African mining entrepreneur. Shortly after his 50th birthday in 2005 Rob decided he wanted to develop a project that would put something back into the land of his birth, uplift a  be to something different, something where he would be involved in putting back into the earth. He wanted to grow and develop something truly South African and truly great.

Mr. Still has always loved olive oil and has always had a great love for and knowledge of trees. His mother, Beth Still, is a renowned landscape gardener, and Mr. Still has memories of his childhood accompanying her to beautiful gardens all over Johannesburg.

He commissioned a study to establish the optimum place to establish his olive farm. After extensive research and chemical analysis of soils, the study showed that the Klein Karoo, with its cold winters and warm summers, would best suit his olive trees and so he set about finding the right farm. He knew the climate well, having spent his time as an army officer traipsing up and down the Swartberg mountains for months.

He settled upon De Rust, snuggled beneath the Swartberg Mountains, with pure water flowing down from the mountains and inward leaning slopes.

In late 2006 he began to plant his olive orchards.

He bought the Oude Muragie and Le Roux farms upon which the estate now rests, and in 2008 he extended his olive orchard footprint with the acquisition of the Grootkruis properties too.

Today the Estate spans 125 HA with which they have produced 200 000 litres of extra virgin olive oil in 2016. They have won 24 awards and continues to make their mark on the South African Olive Oil Industry.

Mr. Still is extremely proud of his estate and his De Rustica team and what it has achieved to date, and the bright future it has ahead of it. When next visiting the farm, look out for Mr. Still. He can usually be found deep in the orchards, accompanied by his Labrador and his little-redheaded daughter, inspecting the pruning and stopping to admire the red rocks as he does so.

THE OPTIMAL TERROR

The climate is ideal: cool winters where snowfall covers the overlooking mountains but lower valleys remain frost fee, and hot summers where fruit can set and grow. The scenic area makes an ideal setting for producing extra virgin olive oil of exceptional quality. To date we have planted 125 hectares of olive trees on the estate. These trees are at different stages of their lives and it is estimated that their full production capacity will be reached in 2020.

Our carefully selected Italian, Greek and other cultivars are hand-picked and pressed on the estate. These ideal growing conditions, and the artisanal care taken in the production and blending processes, result in the exceptional quality of our ultra-premium cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

 

CULTIVARS
De Rustica has the classic Tuscan mix of FRANTOIO, CORATINA and LECCINO (5:4:1) for about 50% of the farm and FS17 (FAVOLOSA) and F77 (DELICATA) for about 40%.  In addition we have small plantings of NOCELLARA, KORONEIKI and BARNEA. De Rustica is situated in an area that (by SA Olive standards) has cooler winters and milder summers than many in SA and thus historically the C18:1 [ OLEIC]  has been high at over 70%.

September the bud starts to develop

During October the blossom sets and the drupes start to form

November – March the fruit grows.

March – the olives starts to turn from green to purple

Harvesting starts end of March.  Harvesting by hand with small rakes scraping all the fruit from the tree onto shade nets, into bins immediately to the press to prevent fermentation.

When olives starts to yellow the anti oxidants are the highest but when the olives turn black the oil percentage is at its highest.

Pruning – starts after harvesting in June, skillful job with contract pruners by hand to ensure enough sunlight penetrating the tree.

PRESS

Immediate pressing ensures that only fresh, high quality olives brimming with flavour and anti-oxidants are used in all of De Rustica’s olive oils.

The olives are processed through our state of the art ALFA LAVAL press. The care and passion combined with innovative technology and air-conditioned stainless steel storage tanks, ensures that our olive oil is produced in the optimal environment.

CLEANING THE OLIVES

The first step in the oil extraction process is cleaning the olives and removing the leaves, twigs, and other debris. The olives are washed with water to remove dirt, etc.

OLIVES INTO A PASTE

The second step is crushing the olives into a paste. The purpose of crushing is to tear the flesh cells to facilitate the release of the oil from the vacuoles. This step is done with a hammer mill.

MALAXING THE PASTE

The paste is pumped into a temperature-controlled malaxer where it is stirred to separate the oil from the paste. The temperature is controlled and not allowed to rise above 28°C to ensure the production of cold extracted extra virgin olive oil. Malaxing (mixing) the paste for 20 to 45 minutes allows small oil droplets to combine into bigger ones.  The mixer is a horizontal trough with spiral mixing blades.

SEPARATING THE OIL FROM THE WATER AND SOLIDS

The next step consists in separating the oil from the rest of the olive components. This is done by centrifugation. This centrifuge is called two stage decanter. It separates the liquids from the solids. The liquid phase that comes out of the decanter is further  processed by a second centrifuge called a separator, this seperates the oil from the water – like cream from milk.

STORAGE

The oil is then left in tanks where a final separation, if needed, happens through gravity. In order for the olive oil to retain the highest level of quality, it should be separated from any sediment and water remaining after extraction. The sediment and water is removed from the outlet at the bottom of the tank. Finally the oil can be filtered. The oil is then stored in stainless steel tanks by cultivar and topped with a layer of nitrogen to prevent oxidation.

TO ENSURE THE CONSUMER BUYS SOUTH AFRICAN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (EVOO) WITH PEACE OF MIND, SA OLIVE HAS INTRODUCED A SEAL OF AUTHENTICITY REFERRED TO AS THE COMMITMENT TO COMPLIANCE (CTC) SCHEME.

FOR THE CONSUMER, THE CTC SEAL MEANS;

  • The producer confirms that the content is 100% South African
  • The year of harvest is prominently displayed, indicating the freshness of the oil.
  • The producer is committed to the standards set in the SA Olive Codes of Practice, which are based on international quality standards.
  • Honest and transparent labeling – if the label states that the content is Extra Virgin, the producer verifies that the content is in fact Extra Virgin and not Virgin, or a Refined Olive Oil.

Extra virgin classification is the highest quality of olive oil. Simply put, the oil must pass the SA Olive tasting panel standards and must have a fatty acid of less than 0,8% and a peroxide value less than 20Meq/kg.

BOTTELING 

CANISTER

The tin canning process was allegedly created by Frenchman Philippe de Girard and the idea passed to British merchant Peter Durand who was used as an agent to patent Girard’s idea in 1810.The canning concept was based on experimental food preservation work in glass containers the year before by the French inventor Nicholas Appert. Durand did not pursue food canning, but, in 1812, sold his patent to two Englishmen, Bryan Donkin and John Hall, who refined the process and product, and set up the world’s first commercial canning factory on Southwark Park Road, London. By 1813 they were producing their first tin canned goods for the Royal Navy.

Early tin cans were sealed by soldering with a tin-leas alloy, which could lead to lead poisining. Infamously, in the 1845 Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin, crew members suffered from severe lead poisoning, thought to be caused by eating tin canned food. More recent research suggests the lead poisoning was more likely to have been caused by the water pipe system on the two ships.

In 1901 in the United States, the American Can Company was founded, at the time producing 90% of United States tin cans.

GLASS

Light is detrimental to oil quality and accelerates oxidation. This is true of all light sources, including fluorescent lights at the store. Darker glass colors like amber, green, dark blue, or black are always preferable to clear glass from a quality point of view.

BAG IN BOX

Bag-in-box is a highly efficient form of packaging where olive oil is stored in a special coated aluminium bag inside a cardboard carton, allowing the consumer to extract the oil using a convenient tap system. The bags and taps are designed and certified especially for use with olive oil.

PET

Among plastics, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has captured a large portion of the olive oil retail market. There is little justification for continuing to bottle Olive Oil in 5L tins, which are more expensive than 5L PET bottles.

SA Olive Awards

 

2017

Gold – Estate Range: Medium

Gold – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Coratina

Gold – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Favolosa

Silver – Estate Range: Delicate

Silver – Estate Range: Intense

INTERNATIONAL

OLIVE JAPAN

Silver – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Favolosa

FLOS O LEI 2017

89 Points

 

2016

Gold – Estate Range: Delicate

Gold – Estate Range: Medium

Gold – Estate Range: Intense

Silver – Delicate press

Silver – Estate reserve

 

2015

Gold – Delicate press EVOO

Gold – Mountain press EVOO

Gold – Frantoio press EVOO

Silver – Intense press EVOO

Silver – Medium press EVOO

ABSA TOP 5

Runner up – Mountain press EVOO

 

2014

Silver – Mountain reserve EVOO

Silver – Estate medium EVOO

Silver – Estate intense EVOO

Bronze – Estate delicate EVOO

 

2013

Gold – Delicate private press EVOO

Gold – Medium private press EVOO

Gold – Intense private press EVOO

ABSA Top 5

Delicate private press EVOO

Medium private press EVOO

Intense private press EVOO

De Rustica Estate is dedicated to giving back to the local community.

The owner is passionate about developing businesses that are sustainable and create local wealth. It is our ambition to develop a farm that benefits not only this generation but those to come.

The Klein Karoo is an economically depressed region with higher-than-national-average unemployment. De Rustica Olive Estate thus represents an important potential farming diversification for the entire region.

De Rustica is investing hugely in developing its olive business in the area, through benchmarking a critical new industry within the area, one which promises to be a catalyst for regional development.

Empowerment Initiatives

In addition to employment and skills development, De Rustica has two powerful empowerment initiatives:

  • Orchard Profit Sharing
    Good management dictates that the objectives of farm employees and owners should be aligned. Farm workers are allocated orchards that they will be responsible for, and the profits generated therefrom will be shared with these “orchard owners”.
  • Regional partner-growers extension scheme
    “Co-operative” olive growing schemes are common, and indeed the norm in the established olive producing regions of the world.
    De Rustica will act as a catalyst to encourage the development of small but viable olive orchard growers in the region.

Local Community Halls

De Rustica has contributed towards the renovation of the local community halls which previously were uninhabitable, and now are used as meeting points for the local community for church/local meetings/creche’s and education.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention “FAS”

FAS is prevalent throughout our community and De Rustica has partnered with the Foundation for Alcohol Related research FARR in order to implement various intervention programs in the area, through industrial theatres, training social workers and educating high risk mothers of the effects of FAS.