Between the latitudes of 30 and 35º south (analogous to the Mediterranean) on the Atlantic coast of South America lies Uruguay’s highly fertile, gently rolling landscape of pastures and grasslands, intersected by hills, ridges, small lakes and rivers.
Thanks to its geographic position, its generous climate and concerted efforts to care for the environment and our well-being, agriculture is highly productive and natural. It is considered one of the most environmentally sustainable countries in the world, having adopted “Climate Smart Agriculture” policies and practices aimed at developing sustainable production systems.
As a result, agriculture in Uruguay is dedicated to natural growing methods (no GMO’s, often organic, etc), specialty crops, smaller volumes and ultra-high quality, creating high-value market niches and distinguishing itself from traditional commodities markets. Uruguay’s free range grass-fed beef, exported throughout the world, is thought by many to be the world’s best, and the country's wines, especially tannat, merlot and pinot noir are enjoying a growing following. Soy, dairy, wheat, rice, pulp & paper, wool and olives are other major crops, all raised avoiding pesticides and herbicides as much as possible; hence the national slogan Uruguay Natural!
Olive trees are well-suited to Uruguay’s terrain and weather, and have been cultivated here since 1810. Agricultural associations promoted their growth in the 1870’s, and the Spanish, Italian and French immigrants added to the olive varietals. The government provided incentives in the 1930’s, and plenty of groves were maintained by families until the 1960’s. Then, after decades of dedication to seed oils and citrus and multiple economic crises in Uruguay, the last one in 2002, and growing worldwide awareness and appreciation for the goodness and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, the children and grandchildren of these early olive farmers realized the potential.
Today, over 80 families across more than 10,000 hectares produce top-quality extra virgin olive oil cultivating multiple varietals that thrive under the Uruguayan sun. All harvests, which are generally done by hand and take place in March and April, are crushed, malaxed, decanted and packaged directly on family plantations or on a neighboring plantation if too small to own processing equipment. There is no mixing with oils from far-away places or other countries or kinds of oil; it is strictly local, highly supervised, clean production. Nothing but fresh extra virgin olive oil with no additives or preservatives, processed without heat within hours of picking and using the latest technology in machinery to capture all the fruity goodness. The results are genuine, elegant, delicious olive oils that are reflective of the terroir and the care and love that the producing families put into it, ranging from fruity and buttery to robust and piquant tones depending on the varietals, harvest time, soil, sunlight and water.All extra virgin olive oils produced in Uruguay are analyzed chemically and evaluated on a sensorial level by a certified tasting panel, following parameters set by the International Olive Council and overseen by the Uruguayan Olive Oil Association (Asolur). Thanks to its oils’ characteristics and quality, and despite the industry’s young age, Uruguayan producers have recently received numerous prizes and distinctions on an international level.
Uruguayan Sun is proud to be the premier importer of these brands of the highest quality, small-batch, extra virgin olive oils into the US market.