Join our founder, Dr. Marko Lens as he travels to Sicily and journeys into the Zelens Garden to harvest the highest-quality of ingredients. This autumn, Dr. Lens visited the olive orchard to collect olives to create a premium, extra-virgin olive oil used in formulas such as Z-22.
"If you enter the Zelens garden you will find olives. Zelens’ olives originate from Sicily, where olive harvesting is an ancient tradition due to the favourable soil properties and Mediterranean climate factors. We cultivate organic olives in a 50 hectare orchard, filled with magnificent, centuries-old olive trees in the region under the Madonie mountain, at altitudes above 500 meters above sea level. Here, we cultivate a variety of the olive tree called Crastu.
"I spent one day in the olive orchard in October, participating in our passion-filled tradition of olive harvesting surrounded by wildflowers and amazing panoramic views of the mountains and sea. We captured so many moments that I wanted to share with you.
"My day began in a local bar with a Sicilian breakfast with an abundance of home-made cornetti and pastries, freshly squeezed Sicilian orange juice and traditional cappuccino.
"When I arrived to the olive orchard, the nets were already laid out around the olive trees. Although the harvesting is traditionally and predominantly manual to be able to get the olives located higher up in the tree, a tool called olive blaster is used- meaning the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the olives are preserved. After harvesting, when I needed some rest, I would sit on the net and watch heaps of olives and stare into incredibly beautiful, strong olive trees while taking it all in. And of course, I could not resist trying fresh olives, although they were slightly bitter, which was a sign that they are rich in strong antioxidants - polyphenols.
"I helped gather all the olives on the net, removing most of the leaves and twigs that had fallen with the olives and fill the crates. Then, harvested olives are transported to the pressing facility to be weighed, washed and processed. Traditional grinding mills are used for cold pressing to extract an extra virgin olive oil that is preserved in special storage containers.
"Our high-quality extra virgin oil of Crastu cultivar has an intense green colour with slight golden hues. On the nose, it reveals notes of almonds, artichoke hearts, aromatic herbs such as thyme, oregano and wild flowers. Crastu olive oil is a light to medium fruity oil and although the flavour tends to be sweet, a slightly bitter taste is also perceived.
"The time passed by so quickly until we retrieved our olive oil. I was impatient to get our first batch of olive oil to try it during our delicious lunch with typical Sicilian dishes."
"In Zelens products we use olive oil, an olive leaf extract and squalane derived from olive oil.
Marko continues to speak about the depths of Olive Oils and it's properties.
"Olive oil is extracted from olive fruits. Extra virgin olive oil, rich in omega-9 (oleic acid), shows moisturising, nourishing, softening and healing properties. This oil also acts as a good antioxidant due to the high amount of natural polyphenols.
"Olive leaf extract is rich in polyphenols (particularly oleuropein) and it possesses strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps protect skin from the damage caused by environmental aggressors. This extract also enhances collagen production and promotes wound healing.
"Squalane is a lipid molecule derived from olive oil. By mimicking natural skin lipids squalene reinforces skin barrier, replenishes lipids, prevents moisture loss and restores skin's suppleness."