Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monticello Grove 1st Annual Olive Harvest

Our new house in California came with 54 olive trees. On December 31 it was time to pick and press the olives. Since I was busy doing a monster workout day Andy took care of the logistics but I wanted to show you how it was done.

Step 1---make sure the olives are ripe. Ideally you want 25% green, 50% purple/green and 25% black. This year the ripening took longer than usual because of the rain and cooler temps.

Step 2---pick the olives. You do this by setting up tarps and whacking the trees with metal poles.

Step 3---rent a trailer and drive over to Sonoma to the place with the big olive press machines.

Step 4---press the olives.

Step 5---the olives go in a Fusti where the oil settles (also known as racking) so the sediment and vegetable matter goes to the bottom leaving you with clear oil. This can take 30-60 days.

Step 6 (optional)----our 1300 lbs. of olives gave use 18 gallons of oil. The fusti pictured in the truck was about 26 gallons. This means there was a lot of air at the top of the fusti and the oxygen could degrade the oil. So, we purchased 3 smaller fusti's and transferred the oil into those to settle. It should be ready in February. We have tried the oil and it is yummy!

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