Olive Oil Harvesting – Factory Time

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Tuesday 16 December, 2014 by Uncle Spike

In part one of this post, we looked at the harvest season and preparing to pick. In part two there was the physical stripping of fruit from the trees, and in part three we arrived at the factory. Obviously the concluding part…. here’s what happens at the factory.

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In terms of the factory process itself, it’s not all that easy to describe, and taking video there was never gonna be a hit – it’s incredibly noisy for starters! It’s all quite high tech too these days…

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Anyway, the olives are loaded/dumped into hoppers, from which they are conveyed up into the factory. This is my lot ready to go, plus a few sacks on the right waiting to be added as the hopper only takes around 450 kilos (1000 lbs).

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The olives pass through a blower that removes any loose leaves, and then they are washed in an agitator. They drop out of there into another hopper, and then auger fed into the grinder.

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This grinder pulverises the load into a pulp in one stage.

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Then in the second stage it is mixed with warm water to make a sloppy paste at about 50 degrees Celcius (or 122F), which is then mixed and brewed for some 20 minutes.

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From the mixer, the pulp is then piped into the press that delivers the sludgy oil to an agitating filter that uses water to ‘float off’ the oil.

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The waste product is then removed from the factory, left to dry and is later compressed into ‘logs’ for burning.

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The oil is then ‘washed’ and run through a final set of filters.

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The product we came here for then starts to slowly pour out, some 50-60 minutes after the whole process began, and it tastes gorgeous.

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The final stage is to pour the oil into our own containers to take back to the farm. Last of all, the whole lot is weighed, and you then pay the factory per KG for their processing costs.

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Once back home, the oil is still slightly warm. I add one teaspoon of salt for each 20 litres (5 US Gal) of oil and leave the top unsealed for a couple of days. One big final stir around and the oil remains fresh and pure for a good couple of years.

Job done – olive season over.

Time to fold up the ground-sheeting, store the tools away until late 2015 and start the next set of jobs 🙂  As for the product yield rate, and other questions I’ve received, watch this space.

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20 thoughts on “Olive Oil Harvesting – Factory Time

  1. […] it was the black acid waste from the olive oil factory, as posted back in December 2014 🙂  After the olives are pressed and the oil extracted, there is […]

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  2. That’s fascinating. So nice to see the whole process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lucy says:

    It’s lovely to see the entire process, step by step. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joannesisco says:

    Wow – olive to oil in about an hour.

    Like others before me, I’m intrigued about the logs from the sludge. The smell must be quite different compared to the logs we are used to burning!

    Do you add the salt as a preservative or a flavouring? Either way, it seems like such a small amount for 20L

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    So great to see this final step Spike. Wonderful about the waste being made into logs for burning.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dayphoto says:

    Wonderful! One year we visited a friend in Texas. She raises cotton. She took us to the cotton gin to watch and the process of cotton being turned into a useable product.

    Do you get to keep the pressed logs also?

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/?s=The+Adventures+of+Fuzzy+and+Boomer&submit=Search
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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    • Uncle Spike says:

      No. At the moment, the waste pulp is one huge soggy brown mountain. They will leave it until the summer, then truck it off to a place that forms the logs and sells them. Never seen it around here – suspect it’s a city thing, or perhaps even export. We are surrounded by pine clad mountains for 100 miles, so plenty of logs already.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s good to know how things we like are made. Thank you for this most educational post 🙂

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  8. fredrieka says:

    Yum bet it taste great!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How much do you have to pay per litre (if you don’t mind me asking)?

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  10. orples says:

    Don’t you love that feeling of accomplishment after you’ve spent so much time working toward your goal? Thanks for sharing the process with the rest of us.

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