Harvesting started in the beginning of October, a few weeks early, and with the drought, the fruit has matured faster.
“We planted 250 trees two years ago, white leaf, Hojiblanca, and last December, with the intense frost and no rain, we lost half of them. The trees could not sustain themselves,” she says.
Most growers, also growing grapes, can easily segue into the olive harvest and processing, extending the season for workers and utilizing the same half-ton bins they use for grapes. Once at the facility, the fruit is weighed, put in a hopper and sent up on a conveyor belt to where it will be washed in water.
From there it can go to the stone crusher or to the more modern and efficient blade crusher. The blade is considered superior, producing a more robust and pungent flavor, while the stone creates a milder, fruitier taste and on the label, transmits the romantic notion of times gone by, the way things were for hundreds of years.
When the olives have been properly pulverized they are fed into a malaxer, large steel tanks, where the oil globules start to coalesce and undergo the first phase of separation. From there the paste travels by way of stainless steel tubing to the decanter, whirling at 3100 rpm, and discharged as flesh and pits on one side and oil and water on the other.Olives to oil - an age-old process,