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Bastide du Laval

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  • Since 1998
  • Distribution Elysée, Sénat
The story of a couple who dream of returning to Nature...after a devouring career in tourism in the USA and then in France.

Roland is the grandson of winegrowers from Beaujolais, Carine is the granddaughter of peasants from Drôme. Yet they escape the call of the Earth and are passionate about the adventure of the company.

Coming from the sports world, they created beach clubs for children in the Landes in the 1980s, then decided to try the American adventure and left for Los Angeles from 1985 to 1998 where they created three prosperous companies focused on Tourism.

In 1998, they sold everything, house and companies and fell in love with a wine estate of around thirty hectares in Provence, in Cadenet, a small village in the Luberon.

They worked for a few months to reorganize the estate and planted several thousand olive trees.

In order to give the trees time to grow, they rely on their American experience and in July 1999 create Auto Escape, a company whose activity is based on a concept still new in France: car rental broker. The company which favors above all the quality of the service develops rapidly and 50 employees join the structure in Pertuis, in the Luberon. Having become number 1 in France, it attracted investors and Roland and Carine COUPAT decided to sell their company when it went public. It will then be bought by Expedia, the world's leading online tourism company.

In the meantime, the trees have grown, other olive trees have been planted and today the farm has 4000 trees spread over 15 hectares.

At the same time, Carine and Roland patiently trained in all olive-growing practices and techniques in France and Italy.

Roland completed his training by obtaining in 2010 a degree in oleologist from the University of Pharmacy of Montpellier. He is a certified taster, and is a regular member of the jury in prestigious competitions such as the Concours Général Agricole de Paris.

The logical evolution naturally led to the creation of an olive oil mill, the heart of the olive-growing activity of a village or region.

2020 is a year of transmission to their son Léo, who holds a Master's degree in Management from SKEMA Business School, an oleologist diploma and official taster status from the International Olive Oil Council.

The philosophy
In the olive grove: the trees, although irrigated, produce little. On the one hand they are located at the limit of the climatic cultivation zone, and on the other hand they are pruned every year. Therefore, they concentrate their qualities in the few olives they produce.

The cultivation of olive trees is done according to the principles of organic farming and here, the king fertilizer is... manure! This one, composted, is rich in micro-organisms and makes it possible to regenerate the humus and to improve the qualities of the soil. It releases slowly and over a long period of time the mineral elements it contains (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and which the trees need.

Harvesting is done manually, with combs and nets.

The mill: when you have taken so much care of your product, it is no longer possible to take risks during its transformation. The oil extracted from the olives must absolutely conform to the ambition of the olive grower. Hence the idea, slowly matured in the minds of Carine and Roland, of building a mill and training themselves to "grind" their olives themselves, that is to say extract the oil.

Everything in the building has been designed for minimal impact on the environment and therefore maximum energy autonomy: orientation, insulation, respect for the authenticity of the site, use of noble and local materials. Outside the mill, this same philosophy prevails: olive pomace is reused as biofuel to heat the mill. The olive pulp is spread after composting to fertilize the soil.

Processing the olives in your own mill makes it possible to reduce the time between harvest and trituration as much as possible, thus avoiding any risk of fermentation or loss of aromas.

The machine used for the extraction is of the latest generation. It is no coincidence that the new arrival is Italian, and more precisely from Tuscany, a leading region in the production of green fruity olive oil. It is a two-phase mill, that is to say without the addition of water during crushing, which allows the oil to retain most of the aromas contained in the olive.

Finally, and for the same purpose, the extraction technique is cold.

The flagship product, a “fruity green” type oil, with a very low acidity level, is the result of this set of factors, in particular this extraction method, but not only!

We must also take into account the influence of the terroir, the varieties, and the optimal maturity of the olives.
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