The process of harvesting and pressing olives

Extra virgin olive oil production involves a meticulous process from olive harvesting to cold pressing to best preserve flavors and nutrients.

1. Olive Harvesting

Crucial Timing: The olive harvest is a crucial time. It is advisable to harvest them when they are ripe but still green, as this period offers the best balance of acids and sugars.

Harvesting Methods: Olives can be harvested manually or mechanically. Manual harvesting is gentler and better preserves the quality of the olives, but requires more labor.

Avoid Tearing: During harvest, it is essential to avoid damage to olives to prevent oxidation and loss of quality.

2. Selection and Cleaning

Olive Separation: After harvesting, olives are sorted to remove any leaves, branches and debris.

Washing: The olives are washed to remove any soil residue or surface impurities.

3. Cold Pressing

Stone Mill or Grinding: The olives are then ground to create a paste. In many traditional facilities, this stage still involves stone mills that grind the olives into a paste.

Gramolatura: The paste is mixed in a process called gramolatura, which helps separate the oil from the water and pulp of the olives.

Pressing: The resulting paste is pressed to extract the liquid. This can be done by mechanical pressing or by a modern system that uses centrifuges to separate the oil from the other components.

4. Decantation and Filtration

Natural Decantation: The extracted oil goes through a natural decantation process, where the heavier particles settle to the bottom.

Filtration: Next, the oil can be filtered to remove any suspended particles, providing greater clarity.

5. Conservation

Storage in Dark Containers: Oil is stored in dark containers or opaque bottles to protect it from light, which could cause oxidation.

Controlled Temperatures: Maintaining controlled temperatures during storage is crucial to preserving the freshness and quality of the oil.

6. Analysis and Certification

Sensory Analysis: Often, oil is subjected to sensory analysis to assess its organoleptic profile, including taste, aroma and appearance.