Harvesting Olives and Making Olive Oil

For the first time we have Extra Virgin Organic Olive oil picked directly from our farm. It was a lot of work and we had a lot of help but in the end we have almost a years supply of olive oil for the farm.

Apart from actually picking olives we had to prune the olive trees earlier in the year. This was to encourage the tree to grow as we wanted it to. Our 40 olive trees are located in various places around the farm, some are old and some we planted. The older ones needed a heavy prune as they have been left alone for many years. Following this we had to clear the grass, brambles and other plants from under the trees to give us access to harvest.

Do you want to help with the Olive harvest in 2019 – click here for volunteering info

Olive picking
You need to place nets around the trees to catch the olives, this is why we don’t plant guilds around our olive trees in the food forest as access to the trees would be too limited. This photo is from when we helped our neighbour.
harvesting olives
Group effort at our neighbour’s olive grove
Harvesting olives
Climbing trees is the fun part of the olive harvest
Cheese and wine breaks keep us going throughout the day
harvested olives
One days worth of olive picking with 10 people gave us around 16 litres of olive oil. So we had to do many more days as we used 125 litres of oil last year at Keela Yoga Farm
seperating olives
Once we have harvested the olives we have to separate the leaves from the olives to get a purer olive oil

 

olive harvest
This is the whole harvest that we collected with an average of 10 people per day over 16 days. This gave a total of 1500kg of olive oil which made around 150 litres of olive oil. THe quality of the olives and the time they are harvested can drastically increase or decrease the amount of oil that you receive. All the olives go into transparent bags to then go to the lugar (olive oil press)

 

olive mill
At the lugar they load the olives into the mill. These giant stone wheels spin and crush the olives into a paste
Olive oil press
The olive paste then gets spread around this round fabric and then many of them are piled up like a huge stack of pancakes ready for pressing. These then go into a machine where they get compressed and an oil drips out

 

Seperating oil from water
After pressing, the oil is added into the water tank which separates the water from the oil, the oil floats and get sent out the pipe
Oilve oil
The oil goes into this container on the left where a further separation of oil from water occurs and then the final olive oil ready for consumption comes out.

Thank you to everyone that let us harvest their trees, to whoever planted the olive trees on our farm many years ago and to everyone that helped us pick the olives this year. We had a great team of volunteers and friends. Now we can at least be sustainble in our olive oil usage.

Would you like a holiday with us picking olives, doing yoga and working in the garden in November 2019? If yes then please take a look at our volunteering page.


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