From the Olive Harvest to Fresh Olive Oil

December 1, 2015

This year, I could start harvesting my olives in November, as the weather conditions were particularly favourable.

I started with the olive groves I have near Kalamaki.

 

The groves are on a slope and the olive trees fully benefit from the surrounding influences of the sea and the mountain. 

 

Every other year, we have a very good harvest, and then the following year, we don't get so many olives as the trees need to recover.

 

This year should be a relatively low year, as we had a strong harvest last year. Still, when I checked my trees, there were plenty of olives so although the yield won't be as strong as last year, it won't be bad.

 

Also, the quality of the olives is very good. They are very healthy-looking, with a good size, colour and shine. It is now a perfect time to start harvesting them as they have reached the right level of maturity.

 

The team I work with placed the olive nets around the trees, and started to work, using electric handheld harvesters.

 

 

 

 

 

In one day, a team of 6 can harvest about 2 tons of mixed olives and leaves, gathered into the nets.

 

 

These are then transferred into jute sacks which are perfect to keep the olives for a short time whilst letting them "breathe" so their freshness is not compromised. 

 

So the average yield in a day is about 40 sacks of olives, each weighing about 50kg, but still mixed with some leaves.

 

We load the olive sacks onto my van when we have gathered enough so I can take them to the press as soon as possible. The quicker the olives are pressed after having been harvested, the better the oil.

 

I therefore sometimes drive to the press several times in the day during the harvesting season.

 

 

 

Pressing the olives