As all ancient olive groves, most of our trees are wild trees, and grafted so as to improve their resistance to drought and disease.
In order to produce a superior quality oil, an olive tree must be healthy and requires the following conditions: a dedicated producer, lots of sun, some rain, fertile and well-drained soil, a mountainous terrain, and plenty of TLC. The producer must wait for the perfect ripening of the fruit before harvesting as well as ensure that no chemicals are present at any stage of the growth process.
The traditional practice of harvesting olives involves the use of a wooden stick to shake the tree branches causing the olives to fall into a large net placed at the foot of the tree. In our area, Trifilia-Messinia, we harvest the “Mavrolïa” (small black olive) in mid-October, followed by the “Koroneïki” (green olive) in mid-November.
Our priority is to see that all our olives are pressed within four to eight hours at most following the harvest ensuring the oil will retain its flavour, freshness and medicinal properties.
As soon as they arrive at the plant, the olives are washed and cleaned removing any leaves and stems by running them along a vibrating hydraulic conveyor belt.
The second step is to crush the olives into a paste. The consistency will vary with the variety being pressed.
- MIXING THE PASTE
The olive paste is then transferred into a special spiral mixer. This step is indispensable as it permits small oil droplets to fuse into larger ones.
The following step consists of separating the oil from the rest of the solid parts by transferring the paste into a centrifuge.
The final step is to separate the oil from the water and sediment. 5 to 8 kilos of olives are required to produce 1 kilo of oil.
Unlike wine, olive oil does not age well. As a rule, olive oil will be good for 24 months from the date of harvest. However, once the bottle is opened, it is recommended to use the olive oil within 6 to 8 months to maximise flavour and ensure that it will keep all its properties.
At first, the olive oil will be bitter and spicy, characteristic of the olive at the beginning of the season (high level of antioxidants). With time, it will reveal the flavour and taste of its olive variety and origins.