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Photo diary part 2 – Processing the Olive Oil

Last week we wrote about picking our olives during this November’s harvest at Villa Campestri olive oil resort in Tuscany. The time has now arrived to process our olives in order to create the extra virgin olive oil that makes us famous.

Philosophy of the ‘frangitura’ (olive oil milling)
The olives arrive at the mill immediately after harvest in large crates that can hold up to 25 kg of weight. fun fact: To maintain the high quality of the oil it is essential to collect and process the same day. In fact, the immediate processing of the olives allows the preservation of the quality in the final product. 

The olives are then emptying into a special leaf-removal tank. This defoliating and ‘washing machine’s’ specific function is to eliminate the leaves via a powerful flow of air and then wash the olives to eliminate possible soil and vegetation residue. Then a conveyor belt is used to transport the clean olives into the crusher ready to be pressed.

Our mill (everything in stainless steel) uses a modern machine that in seconds grinds the olives into a special pulp . Compared to traditional olive oil stone wheels which unfortunately still can seen in operation in some olive mills, this kind of modern machine is able to keep the best characteristic of the olives without causing a friction or increase of heat in the olive paste and an inevitable reduction of the quality in the oil.

The kneading of the olive paste falls into the machine with a reduced oxygen content with a working capacity of 150 kg / hour. The processing time is then slowed down in order to allow less oxidation. From here, the pastes are entered into the a special centrifuge that separates the oil from the nut and remaining residue. At this point, the operation is now complete! In just 45 minutes from the moment they enter the olive mill, the olives become transformed into our beloved oil! A final critical step is filtering the oil for the removal of mucilage and waste water through a powerful filter.

Lastily – did you know that most of the people that come here to learn more about olive oil think the term ‘extra-virgin’ means “olive oil from the cold pressing of olives ” which is incorrect. Extra-virgin actually means “an oil free of defect .”

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