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Theo Rallis has invented an olive-pressing method that truly uses cold instead of heat, producing what he says is a more nutritional product

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The Rallis family’s tradition of harvesting olives goes back to at least Theo Rallis’s grandfather, Theodoros, on a centuries-old farm and orchard in the Peloponnese region in Greece.

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Mr. Rallis, of Windsor, Ont., sources the raw material from the region for his ice-pressed olive oil. Villagers also bring their olives to him, to turn into oil for themselves, so impressed are they by his new way of making olive oil.

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An olive-harvesting rake in Greece, a variation on an implement that might have been used in Homer’s day. Olive oil is an ancient food dating back millennia.

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Mr. Rallis washes olives at his Ontario processing plant. He has developed a proprietary technique to press the olives with no heat applied whatsoever. Traditional olive oil, even products touted as cold-pressed, heat the olives, he says. ‘We saw steam coming out, and right away my brother, with his background in health research, saw something wrong with that,’ Mr. Rallis says of his first glimpse of traditional methods.

Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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Rallis Olive Oil is sold at farmers’ markets and foodie boutiques across Canada. A list of retailers can be found on the company's website, icepressed.com. Mr. Rallis says his raw oil is more health-empowering than supermarket olive oil and loaded with nutrients. Greek villagers refer to the oil as butter medicine.

Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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In Canada, Rallis also supplies celebrity chef Mark McEwan and Toronto-based Ace Bakery with oil, which they sell under their own private label.

Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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Mr. Rallis spent two years tweaking his oil process. ‘My goal was to leverage technology in different ways, to improve upon how olive oil has been made for thousands of years,’ he says. ‘It was about using new tools and systems and pairing them with an ancient tradition to produce a new result.’

Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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