Paul’s European Journey – Part 3: The Purest Sicilian Homegrown Organic Olive Oil and Wine

A Visit to Vigne Nuove Gaetano Farm

When traveling in Europe on my way to Italy, I was determined to visit a real organic olive oil producer – to learn more about how olives are grown and what goes into making the best olive oil – with thoughts in mind of ways to use olive oil in various Paul Penders products. I got to do that… and more than I expected, much more.

On the train, we encountered Mr. Sawillaci Gaetano, the owner of a small olive oil and wine farm outside the city of Catania on the island of Sicily. We shared our philosophies about life and work – and discovered we had much in common. We became true friends. Very soon a meeting was sealed. We would meet again in Catania in a few days.

One of only two metropolitan areas on the island of Sicily, Catania has one of the most dynamic economies in the whole of Southern Italy including a fast-growing tourist industry, with many international visitors coming to visit. The island is filled with history and archaeological sites — people have been living here since as far back as the 8th century B.C.

The famous Mt. Etna volcano looms above the city of Catania; the snow-capped mountain is the most prominent landmark of the island of Sicily. At 3,320 m (10,890 ft), it is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. Luckily, it has been relatively quiet in recent years and the volcanic ashes have produced a special fertile soil, adapted especially for the growth of grapevines and olive trees.

As we drove out of the city to the plantation, I was touched by what I saw — the Sicilian countryside has a serene beauty. The land Mr. Gaetano owns has come down to him through generations of his family. He is in many ways a modern man but continues living by the standards of family traditions. He will never give up the land or his way of life.

The plantation is beautiful. Relatively small, it has only 600 olive trees and arcades of dangling grapevines. Besides the olives and grapes, he also showed us his gardens of herbs and organic vegetables: rosemary, fennel, mint. He cares for small orchards of oranges, figs, lemons, prunes, and tangerines. The dry Mediterranean climate also is suitable for cactus and he sliced open a cactus fruit for us to taste. All are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

His olives taste different. He takes the olives from the trees when they are still young. He explained that other growers let the olives grow much longer on the trees so they become big and fat, picking them only when they are ripe and ready to be squeezed. While he says there is nothing wrong with this commercial approach, it is less healthy. His way gives a “pinch-taste” to the olives, demonstrating true quality. Healthy young olives keep all their vitamins inside and these can be extracted to make pure, vitamin-rich olive oil.

Mr. Gaetano’s organic wine tastes differently, too. It has a fresh, almost serene taste and a fruity aroma — truly a simple quality wine – and with no pesticides to mar it. We were lucky enough to be gifted with a bottle each of the wine and olive oil to take home.

The oranges that grow there are wonderful as well – they say, “Oranges are just oranges until you have tasted the ones from Sicily!”

There is so much handwork involved in producing the way he does. It was clear that after paying workers that there is simply no money left for profit. With a production of only few thousand bottles, it was clear that money-making is not the priority but he said several times that he would never give up the farm.

This Sicilian farmer has a good life – simple and rich in pleasures if not money. He enjoys where he lives and what he plants — and his family virtually lives off the fruits of the land. Most of the olive oil and other produce is used by family and friends. They count on what comes from this land.

Mr. Gaetano and I shared many interests during our time together. For all Paul Penders products, we do everything we can to ensure our ingredients are pesticide and chemical-free. In today’s world, however, it takes knowledge and courage for a farmer to choose to ‘go organic.’ And it takes courage to choose to stay small and resist the temptation to sell out – something he and I shared as I have felt that pressure many times with our company as well. It is hopeful to me that there continue to be small farmers like Mr. Gaetano who preserves tradition and cares for his heritage, the land, and his family.

As it turns out, his production is too small to be used for our cosmetics. Legal restrictions and costs also limit the ability of small farmers to obtain the necessary documents that are needed now for all cosmetic ingredients. Nevertheless, he gave us some samples to take back to test in our lab. It will be great to send him a ‘thank you gift’ of a few finished products made from his own olive oil, like shampoo and moisturizer.

Another thing we shared was our love of travel. Mr. Gaetano’s next trip may very well be to our Langkawi Geopark island in Malaysia. We would welcome him to visit us so we could show him the beauty of this great part of the world.

However, finding quality olive oil and wine is difficult on a tropical rainforest island! No doubt that’s why so many Italians living outside their own country long to return to their great motherland – and one reason why I cherish the memories of this trip to Europe. I’ll have more for you in future blogs.

By Paul Penders

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Did You Know That…

… one of the best and most efficient ways to protect your hair in rough weather conditions is to wash your hair with Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo followed by Paul Penders Herbal Lemon Conditioner? The hair should be treated both before and after the exposure to e.g. salt water and heavy sun.
As a follow-up treatment of the hair, Paul Penders Holy Basil Conditioning Scalp Toner should be used for a period of time.
If you followed our Iron Man articles, you will know this was how we protected the hair of our sponsored Iron Man. And, it worked to perfection.

Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo is a unique approach to washing the hair based on organic olive oil as cleansing agent.
The shampoo foams only minimally when applied to the scalp. After some water is added, it “breaks open” and releases gentle foam that cleanses the hair and keeps it shiny. It also ensures a clean, healthy scalp.
For those, who like the feel of foam, a second wash can be done, this time with only a minimal amount of shampoo – and the foam will appear.
Contrary to mass-produced chemical shampoos, Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoos produce only a small amount of foam. It leaves the hair shiny, soft and free of flyaway strands.

Herbal Lemon Conditioner is an all-natural conditioner that untangles the hair and leaves it shiny, silky and never weighed down.
The lemon essential oil imparts an exquisite fragrance, while added organic apple cider leaves the hair and scalp feeling fresh and clean by eliminating buildup, as well as restoring a proper pH level.

Holy Basil Conditioning Scalp Toner is a topical scalp & hair solution that promotes healthy hair growth by improving the condition of the scalp. A combination of herbs and essential oils work to ensure nutrient intake, stimulate circulation and balance sebum production.
This results in optimal scalp and hair health. It restores luster and gives shine to dull or damaged hair. Anti-bacterial plant extracts help calm scalp irritation and prevents dandruff.
Holy Basil Conditioning Scalp Toner should be used because beautiful hair starts with a healthy scalp.
Related posts:
How Paul Penders Products Help an Iron Man
Get to Know Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo

Get to Know Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo and Conditioner

Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo and ConditionerPaul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo took over two years to develop and is still the only time release shampoo available in the world. It is designed to first cleanse the scalp, ensuring a healthy foundation for beautiful, shiny hair; then form a thick lather to cleanse the hair itself.

When first applied to the scalp, Paul Penders Time-Release Shampoo gently removes dandruff and debris from the surface of the head. Because the scalp is not exposed to harsh surfactants that can leech moisture, it remains nourished and healthy.

As more water is added, this unique Time-Release formulation “breaks open” and creates gentle foam for cleansing the hair. This ensures a shiny hair and a healthy scalp.

Only the finest organic olive oil is used in this unique shampoo
Only the finest organic olive oil is used in this unique shampoo

After washing, the hair is full and luxurious, without the fly-away effect created by some other shampoos because of the use of harsh detergents that strip away the hair’s natural protection.

Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo is based on olive oil as a cleansing agent and contrary to mass produced chemical shampoos, this shampoo foams only minimally.

For those who like the feel of foam, the hair can be washed a second time with only a minimum of shampoo applied and foam will appear.

Our customer Susan from Singapore, whose email to us we mentioned a week ago, later sent us this short message, which actually prompted me to write about the Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo and Conditioner. She wrote:

Hair washBy the way, I have just discovered Paul Penders Time-Release Jasmine Shampoo and Conditioner and have been using it for about 6 weeks now. My hair is in the best condition it’s ever been and no longer looks a mess at the end of the day.

I now move heaven and earth to find this product if I don’t carry enough with me when I’m travelling.

Susan, Singapore

Thank you so much. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, Susan.

To view all the ingredients in this unique, all natural organic Time-Release Shampoo – and in the Conditioner – click here and then click on “View ingredients”.

To find YOUR nearest Paul Penders store, click here