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!

Apart from the highly successful olive oil division the Estates has a large selection of domestic farm animals and is especially proud of the high quality of its sheep and cattle herds.

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 and to do something different, something that would involve 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 perfect area 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 various 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 free, 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, resulting in the exceptional quality of our ultra-premium cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

 

CULTIVARS
Frantoio

Frantoio, which comes from the Italian name for Oil mill, is the best-known olive tree varietal and one of the most widely planted in the trans-alpine country.  Its oil is balanced and is characterized by long shelf life. It is a variety that is used for the production of elegant and delicate EVOO’s.

FS17 (Favolosa)

A unique olive varietal, and a superb olive oil.  it offers many precious agronomic characteristics.

Leccino

An Olive typical of the northern part of Italy, especially in the regions of Umbria and Tuscany. The word Leccino comes from milk, and it refers to the whitish colour of the olive while it is being pressed.

Nocellara

Nocellara is an olive cultivar from the Valle del Belice area of South-western Sicily.  it is a dual-purpose olive, grown both for oil and for the table.

Barnea

Barnea is widely grown in Israel and in the Southern hemisphere, particularly in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.  it has also been introduced to Northern California.

koroneiki

Koroneiki is Greece’s most predominant varietal, occupying nearly half of its olive grove surface area.  It is currently one of the most widely planted species around the world, especially in the new orchard systems. It may possibly be one of the most ancient existing olive tree cultivars.

Coratina

The region of Puglia, in Southern Italy, is where the largest amount of this cultivar is found. Its oil is very interesting, stable and with a high bitterness and pungency. Its one of the most appreciated varietals when making blends, which is why it is being increasingly planted in those projects that integrate production, processing and marketing of Premium EVOO’s.

Arbequina

For many years it was only found in Catalonia however at the beginning of the 20th century it began to spread through the rest of Spain, and now it has become a favourite of new plantations around the world who are working with modern cultivation systems. it produces a low stability juice, with mild bitterness an pungency, and a wide range of nuanced notes: apple, nuts, tomato fresh grass… which make it highly popular in the market.

Kalamata

The Kalamata olive is named after the city of Kalamata in southern Peloponnese, Greece. It is a large black or brown olive with a smooth, meaty texture suitable for table olives.

The micro-climate at De Rustica is uniquely suitable for the growing and producing of a world-class Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (EVOO)

The Olive trees development cycle is governed by the seasons of the year. It is in the spring, summer and autumn that it undergoes most of the notable stages.

September

Bud development – while some of the buds sprouting from the olive tree will end up turning into blossoms that subsequently give shape to the fruit, others will develop into future shoots and then finally branches.  These branches, in turn, will generate new buds in such a way that this cycle is always guaranteed.

October

Blossoms form and through wind pollination the flowers set and the drupes (stone fruit, olives) starts to form.

November – March

The fruit grows to maturity and when the olives start to turn from green to purple the harvesting begins, this is usually around the end of March.

April

The olives are hand-picked by using a small rake to scrape the fruit from the branches. Shade nets are placed underneath the tree to collect the harvested fruit.  The harvested olives are then transported in big crates from the orchards to the processing plant.

June/July

Pruning commences straight after harvesting. Skilled labour with the aid of some mechanical pruning methods ensures that our trees get the best opportunity for reproduction in the new season.

De Rustica strives to constantly improve methods, equipment and standards in an effort to continue producing world-class EVOO.

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 ensure 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 separates 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 are 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 labelling – 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 of less than 20Meq/kg.

BOTTLING

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 colours 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 specially 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.

2018

SA OLIVE AWARDS

Gold – Estate Collection: Single Cultivar – Frantoio

Silver – Estate Collection: Single Cultivar – Favolosa

Silver – Estate Range: Delicate

Silver – Estate Range: Medium

Bronze – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Coratina

 

INTERNATIONAL

SOL D’ ORO – SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE

Gold – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Coratina

Silver – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Frantoio

Silver – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Favolosa

“Special Award” – Giulio Bertrand

NYIOOC – NEW YORK

Gold – Estate Collection: Single cultivar – Coratina

 

2017

ABSA TOP 10

Estate Collection: Single Cultivar – Coratina

 

SA OLIVE AWARDS

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

89 Points – Estate Collection: Single Cultivar – Coratina

SOL D’ORO

Special Mention – Estate Collection: Single Cultivar – Coratina

 

2016

SA OLIVE AWARDS

Gold – Estate Range: Delicate

Gold – Estate Range: Medium

Gold – Estate Range: Intense

Silver – Delicate press

Silver – Estate reserve

 

INTERNATIONAL

FLOS O LEI

89 Points – Estate Reserve

 

2015

SA OLIVE AWARDS

Gold – Delicate press EVOO

Gold – Mountain press EVOO

Gold – Frantoio press EVOO

Silver – Intense press EVOO

Silver – Medium press EVOO

 

2014

SA OLIVE AWARDS

Silver – Mountain reserve EVOO

Silver – Estate medium EVOO

Silver – Estate intense EVOO

Bronze – Estate delicate EVOO

 

2013

ABSA Top 5

Delicate private press EVOO

Medium private press EVOO

Intense private press EVOO

 

SA OLIVE AWARDS

Gold – Delicate private press EVOO

Gold – Medium private press EVOO

Gold – 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.

 

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.