We have harvested our own olives every year since we moved to Italy, although this year was rather different and that will be the subject of my next post.
I hope you will enjoy reading about the process, there are also links included to my posts from previous years, should you be interested.
Olive Harvest 2011 – Milling from Olive to Oil
Once we had decided that five days picking was more than enough, certainly in one stretch, the next task was to get the olives to the mill. A good job we did stop when we did as we only just got them all in the X-Trail and the Smart Car would really have not been much help would it! If you have not yet read my post on our picking and would like to do so just click on this link. Olive Harvest 2011 – Picking
Loaded and ready to go!
Off we then went on a short drive to the Oleificio in Montefiascone, where they were expecting us. We had arranged to arrive with our crop sometime on the Tuesday morning when we we would be given a more precise appointment for our milling.
Arriving at the mill olives are unloaded into a large crate.
Our crate is the one in the top left hand picture and when we left on Tuesday it had been moved into the warehouse area for storage, photo top right. Before leaving we confirmed in the office that our slot for milling would be the next day, Wednesday 16th November verso (towards)2pm.
Having been through this process before we warned my sister that we were probably in for a very long afternoon at the mill. Fortunately she did not seem to mind, although she did take her book as I suggested she never actually got to read it, as she found the whole process interesting, well I she seemed to! We arrived at the appointed time and our arrival was acknowledged immediately, however it was probably half an hour later when someone decided to tell us that due to a breakdown during the night, they were running a couple of hours behind, so why not go off somewhere else for awhile. We took the advice and went off to the station to check the times for my sister’s train to Roma the next morning, we were unable to buy her ticket though as the Tabac (where they sell train tickets) was of course closed for the afternoon as were most of the local shops. There is a new branch of Todis in Montefiascone opened on 26th October which is unusually ‘orario continuato’ continuous opening with no afternoon closure, so we did a little food shopping before returning to the mill for our rescheduled appointment.
On our return we located our crate, now outside, see the bottom row in the mosaic above, just before 4pm our turn arrived. The crate was weighed we were given our ticket, for use later to pay for the milling process which is calculated by the amount of oil produced, then the olives were loaded into the hopper and the process began. The olives would appear as olive oil in approx two hours time, I followed the process as best I could in these photos. The first mosaic of photos show the olives being weighed, before being tipped into the hopper, the leaves are then separated from the olives by being blown and deposited in the basket outside, see bottom left of picture, before the olives are sent off into the milling machinery.
As mentioned above the leaves have been separated as the olives make their way into this first stage of the milling process where they are washed and ground.
In the next stage of the process the pulp is transferred into tanks, there are six in all and they are used in rotation, our olive pulp was designated to tank number two.
An impressive looking beast here are some close ups of the procedure, notice how red the pulp is going down the tube in the first photo, top left! The operative kindly opened the lid so that I could photograph the pulp entering the chamber.
While we waited for the oil, I will took a few photos around the mill, including where the waste product from the procedure is transferred to. It appears to lose its colour looking at the last photo ‘ stuff’ which had been around for awhile maybe used as a compost product but this is just a guess.
The setting sun, Montefiascone Duomo and general environs of the mill.
The green lights indicate that the pulp is ready for the next stage and the chamber is emptied as it passes through the next batch of machinery to the final stages, the waste product is removed and ends up where I showed you in a previous collage. It gets exciting as the procedure enters the final stages as you wait for your very own olive oil to appear.
Which it finally does and to our delight the operatives told us that not only was our oil of a very good quality, but in fact even better it was excellent, they knew this because of the transparency, just take a look at the large photo!
We are very pleased with the end result and I hope you have enjoyed my very basic description of the process, any mistakes are my own!
For those of you that are new to this blog and may be interested in the previous Olive Harvest posts, here are the links.
Olive Harvest - Phase One – 2009
Olive Harvest - Phase Two - 2009
Olive Harvest 2010 - Che Disastro!Travel Tales
Olive Oil 2010
and the prequel to this post Olive Harvest 2011 - Picking
Lots more photos can be viewed in in My Flickr Albums in the collection entitled Olives and Olive Oil.
All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection
Please note this post originally appeared as Olive Harvest 2011 - Milling from Olive to Oil on November 28th 2011.
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