Harvest & Production
NORMALLY HARVEST TIME OCCURS IN NOVEMBER
In order to produce an organic extra virgin olive oil, olives should not be overripe, it could be harvest just before the maturity stage. This results to a very delicate and lighter oil for consumption. However, this means also it requires more olives to make one litre oil (roughly 30% more).
Olive oil is a natural product that depends on sun, rain, pests and diseases. To produce an organic olive oil, we abstain completely from chemical treatment.
A small anecdote: 2017 was a marvellous year as we had produced 1 litre olive oil with only 4 kilos of olives. In 2018 it was almost a marvellous year until the rain in September came and our olives had lots of water therefore for 1 litre oil we needed in average 8 kilos of olive. There is no influence in the quality. Luckily, at the moment we haven’t had any experience of pests and diseases.
The harvest tool are two to three 8 x 8 m / 10 x 10 m nets, which are placed on the ground around the tree, a vibrating rod machine that vibrates the olives then fall on the nets, harasses for harvested olives and bucket for handpicked olives on the low branches as well as a ladder.
During harvest period, it quickly becomes clear whether the homework was done through the year as a lot of time can be saved or spent, depending on wild bushes such as blackberries, old wild plant branches and weeds that surrounds the trees and these must be cut. As harvesting time for a month is very short, it must be exploited as wisely as possible. This includes also a plan, in which order the trees will be harvested, by marking the trees with a colourful plastic ribbons.
With the use of a vibrating rod machine one tree can be harvested in between 20 to 30 minutes. Harvesting with a ladder can take roughly 1 hour till 1 hour and a half depending on the size of a tree. For efficiency reasons, trees with less than 4 or 5 kilos of olives would not be used for olive oil production instead it will be used for edible olives to be marinated in salt-water for 1 or 3 months, fresh harvested olives are not enjoyable to eat. Or we just leave some olives in the trees to feed some birds.
In the evening the harvested olives will be hand rolled in a grating grid to separate the leaves, removing stalks, selected, then ready to do the first quality control. Harvesting with a vibrating rod machine takes a lot of time in removing leaves and stalk, in which often olives with stalk falls especially when we take olives early, where they are firmly anchored on the stalks. Manual harvesting with our hands has less stalks on it. The total daily harvest is about 250 kilos.
The daily harvest will be stored in the dark place in our production room, in the pre-mill area, until it goes into the mill. In order to be frugal with our natural resources such as water and energy resources, minimum required olives from 400 to 500 kilos so the oxidation of the selected olives after 48 hours is still low that’s why within 2 days we press them, so the oldest harvested olives are maximum 48 hours old.
Our olive press, harvesting machines and mill are Italian leader products, our olive oil is more delicate, more pleasant taste and not bitter. The extract process is certainly a cold pressing, which is done by centrifuge and takes between 3 to 4 hours depending on the amount. The recovered oil will go directly to the stainless steel tanks. At the end, machine and mill will be cleaned with cold and hot water. Often we leave the mill first thing in the morning at 2 am, tired but happy with the results.
The filter process begins when a stainless steel tank is full of oil. We filter it naturally, we let the oil in the tank roughly for 4 weeks and pump it from the top to a second stainless steel tank. The solid residue will be pumped out in a separate small tank (about 60 litres) and will be used for us. Four weeks later, when the oil is beautiful golden green and clear, usually that’s enough and ready, otherwise we do it all again it will be filtered a third time.
In March / April when the outside weather is more than 20 degrees we can fill in the bottles and label them in our pre-mill area, as when the temperature drops under 20 degrees our oil is thick solid.
The cherry on the top is the transport through Spain, France and in our home-land, where our organic olive oil will spoil your palate.
BY THE WAY
Would you like to experience harvesting olives? PLEASE CONTACT US.