As all ancient olive groves, most of our olive trees are wild trees, which were grafted in order to improve their resistance to drought and diseases.
In order to produce a good quality olive oil, an olive tree must be healthy and therefore, it requires the following conditions: a dedicated producer, lots of sun and some rain, a fertile and well drained soil, a mountainous terrain, etc. The producer must wait for the perfect ripening of the fruits before harvesting as well as ensure that no chemicals are present at any stage of the product elaboration.
The traditional practice of harvesting olives involves the use of a wooden stick to shake the tree branches in order to make the olives 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 that all our olives are pressed for oil within four to eight hours at most following the harvest ensuring that the oil will keep its flavour, freshness and medicinal properties.
As soon as they arrive at the factory, the olives are washed and cleaned of any leaf or stems by circulating them on a mechanical-hydraulic conveyor.
The second step is to crush the olives into a paste. The consistency will vary with the variety being pressed.
- MALAXING THE PASTE
The olive paste is then placed in a special mixer with spiral mixing blades. This step is indispensible since it will allow small oil droplets to combine into larger ones.
- SEPARATION OF THE PHASES
The following step consists in separating the oil from the rest of the solid parts by transferring the paste in a centrifuge.
The last 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.