Mark spent the week heading up each day to our friends olive grove to help pick olives. The goal, 500 kilos by friday when an appointment was booked at the frantoio (oil mill). The minimum that they will press is 500 kilos. A good yield is 18 to 20%. Finn went with Mark a few of the days, his new hobby, collecting shells, and not the beach kind!
We were all very excited about the possibility of heading over to the mill and seeing the process of how olives become oil. On Friday afternoon we got the call, the olives were about to be pressed. I hurried the girls out of the house and channelling my inner Mario Andretti, sped across the valley to the oil mill. When we arrived the olives were already in the granite wheel grinder, but we were able to tour around and see the whole process.
The olives get dumped in the chute and then the olives go up a shaft and air blows over them to remove any leaves and twigs.
The olives are weighed. Mark and the gang came in at 504 kilos!
The olives get sent through another blower and down the chute where they go into the first stage of mulching.
Then the mulch is put into the grinder where huge granite wheels crush the olives and pits.
The next mixing stage where the oil begins to separate.
Then it goes through two stages of centrifuging, in the second centrifuge water is added which helps to separate the oil.
Then it is poured into containers, ready to eat. It was a great experience to be a part of this process, the mill was very noisy but smelled amazing with the aroma of fresh cold pressed olive oil!