Updated: Jan 19
As we harvest the olives, we place them in crates which we load up onto our Ford truck. Once we have a full load, we take the olives to the local mill where we transfer the fruit into big sacks or large metal baskets. Each owner gets a designated area where the olives are kept in the open. We'll do several runs to the mill with full truck-loads over a period of about three days. Keep in mind, we're moving over 1000 kg of bio mass, made up of olives, leaves and sticks, so there's a lot of material to schlep to the mill.
The olives are kept at the mill delivery area until it's our turn to use the facility. You reserve a time slot in advance; it's all pretty organized in a casual, we-are-running-three-hours-late sort of way. The processing takes place max within 24 hours from our last delivery. This makes for a delicious fruity oil flavour as the olives are so fresh off the tree.
The first thing that happens at the mill is separating the olives from the sticks, leaves and stones that come together in the sacks and crates. Once the operator at the mill has dropped all of the fruits into the machinery, the olives and debris will chug-chug their way up several conveyor belts finally reaching an air blower. Here the leaves and sticks will be blasted away from the olives and stones. These will be blown against a mesh and collected in a large container. Meanwhile, the olives and stones will drop into a tank of water where the stones will fall to the bottom whilst the olives float away onto the next conveyor belt.
Now they've been washed, they are ready for milling.