The BRIST Olive brand is a creation of Silvano and Ines Puhar and their family who share a vision of using traditional growing techniques dating from Roman times in combination with the most modern of production methodologies to provide BRIST oils with an unrivalled quality, in what is already an unsurpassed region of Istria.
As the craft and the business that supports it moves forward Lena (Ines and Silvano’s daughter) and her Irish husband Paul are taking an ever increasing role in growing the business and in developing a new vision for how to combine a world-class product with beautiful and communicative branding, and an exceptional and educational customer experience.
Our olives at BRIST are grown specifically in antique Roman Villae Rusticae olive groves overlooking the beautiful Brijuni archipelago. In doing this we continue thousands of years of tradition. It is also our belief that in the modern era, the finest olives come from traditionally grown groves on smaller family owned agricultural land, and family is at the core of all we do.
From the generations of our family gathering the olives at harvest time, to our oil reaching your family table, the ethos of BRIST remains professional but ultimately a family, and a family friendly endeavour. From our family to yours, we wish you great enjoyment of our wonderful, healthy, unique and naturally produced extra virgin olive oils.
Vision & Mission
- To create a product of the highest quality and superb taste which is highly beneficial to the health of our guests.
- To create a product that can be enjoyed and shared within families on an everyday basis.
- To create a range of products related to the olive – like olive leaf tea, table olives, dried olives, olive spreads – all from olives from our own grove.
- To share our knowledge and experience about olive growing and oil production.
- To collaborate with agronomy experts, scientists and health specialists.
- To communicate the above with care, passion and transparency to the wider public, and to create around us a network of those who freely share their thoughts with us on everything that we do.
- By using the most contemporary knowledge on olive growing and oil production.
- By always directing our focus towards responsible and ecologically sensitive growing and production.
- By further developing educational tours through our grove, tasting education at locations including our shop, and building new facilities for the development of our product range.
- By always asking for and listening to the feedback from our guests, clients and partners.
- By collaborating with the scientific community in the areas of technology and health.
- By constantly educating our team and broadening our knowledge such that we can communicate with care, passion and transparency to the wider public..
Whatever you make, whatever you do, however you prevail, it really comes down to the same three things every time, and this is true of olive oil also:
- Constant learning
- Passion for the thing you love
- Committed hard work
This may sound very simple but it is the foundation everything we do, and will continue to be for many years to come.
Our process starts with the greatest care when planting, understanding that each and every tree needs not only enough space to grow, but water, organic fertilizer, and constant tending. It also key that the limestone base below the tree is broken up, to create a space to grow well. The post that hold the sapling needs to go in before the tree to ensure that in the early days the post is more deeply secured than the new tree. Posts are leaned about 5 degrees into the direction of the destructive “bura” wind such that the tree will be strong and upright over time.
The Istrian soil is great for olive trees and with a good location like the Sta Margherita olive grove there is every opportunity to create the perfect environment for growing healthy and generously producing trees. However, key to this is understanding soil mechanics – how to care for the valuable earth which feeds our trees. Organic fertilizer is very important to add the extra nutrients but more importantly is a deep understanding of when is the time to plow the soil and when is the time to let it rest.
Each and every olive by hand, that is how we do it. We do this to protect the fruit, as hands are the softest tools when picking fruit. The most important thing is timing – to decide when each of our 9 varieties are at the perfect moment for harvesting. We harvest earlier in the season than most to ensure that the olives are still bursting with freshness vitality. Family, friends and our small team gather in the harvest while enjoying the beautiful October sun sets over the shimmering Adriatic Sea. Once picked, the clock is on to get the fruit, fresh and full of vitality to the mill for extraction.
Brist Extra Virgin Olive Oils are milled locally using the most cutting edge cold extraction technology. We ensure that the process is undertaken with great care, knowledge and professionalism so that the oil we spent so much time nurturing is the very best we can produce for you – your family and your table.
The Past and the Future
Growing is about learning and combining new methodology and technology with the wisdom of the older generations. There is wisdom in the landhere two with over two millenia of olive growing in Istria. The romans knew Istria for the finest oil in the empire.
As important as out tradition is, we also believe that the future is where the best is to come. Some times we feel that as deeply as we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grand parents and grandchildren we are maslinari – “olive people”. What we do goes deep, and we are very grateful to have the chance to continue such a fulfilling tradition.
The next generation are getting ready. They are learning and we are too – we are taking our experience and teaching it on. We are looking forward to a future where we can keep doing what we are passionate about: seeding, growing, picking, milling, blending, bottling, presenting, educating and sharing our oils, in a way that we continue to be satisfied to share with our family and yours the best we can create.
As we enjoy the present, we look forward to the future and we hope very much to have the chance to share some time with you in our shop or on our grove, to teach, learn and most importantly – simply to enjoy.