Hear it from the family…
The Pierrakos family has four generations (about 150 years) of extra virgin olive oil producers working hard to bring their quality product from their trees to your table. The family has a strong connection and love for Greece and the United States. The four Pierrakos siblings (Diamantis, Dino, Olga and Nayia) have been educated in the United States and reside in Virginia. Diamantis and Dino reside in Gainesville, Virginia and spend half of the year in Sparta, Greece working hand-in-hand with their father Vasili, who resides in Greece. Together, father and sons oversee the private olive estate to ensure a quality harvest and award-winning extra virgin olive oil. The four siblings and our mother, Magdalene, oversee Laconiko operations here in the United States.
Laconiko, gets its name from the region of Greece, where their private olive estate is located – Laconia. In ancient Greece, Laconia was the principal region of the Spartan state and today Laconia’s capital is Sparta. Laconiko also gets its name from the word “laconic,” which is also derived from Laconia by analogy and means “to express a quality thought or idea using a limited amount of words” as the Spartans were reputed of doing by the Athenians. Similar to the Spartans of ancient Greece, the family produces “superb quality extra virgin olive oil produced by a limited amount of olive trees.” We are able to achieve such quality because we do not mass produce, but rather focus on using quality processes resulting to an award-winning extra virgin olive oil.
Laconiko’s harvesting and processing is of the highest quality. Their olives are hand-picked and processed with only mechanical pressing methods and not chemically treatment methods, which are typical. A key to producing a high quality olive oil is being able to harvest the olive fruit without bruising it. This is very difficult to accomplish if the olives are not hand-picked. Yet, because of how labor intensive hand-picking is, most olives are picked by big machinery that move over the whole tree and brush the olives off.
These techniques used for mass production inevitably bruise the olives and thus lessen the quality of the olive oil. Moreover, timing of harvest, which for us occurs between December and January, is critical. We pick our olives before they are fully ripe because it produces better olive oil. This is not a typical practice though because if olives are ripe, they produce more volume of olive oil, so most producers compromise the quality for quantity.
Also, our olives are always cold-pressed within 12 hours of picking. This ensures that the olives are fresh when they are pressed so that there is no chemical degradation (oleic acid build up that would lead to high acidity). By promptly pressing our olives after picking, we are able to achieve very low acidity levels which results to high quality Laconiko olive oil. By having such high standards and keeping the family traditions alive, we are able to maintain and preserve the intensity of our olive oil flavor, aroma and its deep green color. .