THE OLIVE SAGA - PART II


Here it is, with a bit of delay I admit.
The process used at this particular olive processing plant is not really that traditional since the entire extraction process is centrifugal and totally automated. The grindstones are not hand carved and the paste goes through a crush process before moving to the basin. Very machine oriented... I had no idea that they had installed new equipment.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed.
My family owned and operated a traditional olive press since 1905, or thereabouts. I remember the old grindstones, the goat-hair folds, the manual press, the separation of the oil from other olive juices and pomace in the in-ground "olive pools." That was a labor intensive process - the press was manual and required 5-6 men to turn. The plant stopped operating years ago.
Nowadays,  olive processing uses the centrifugal method but maintains some of the traditional elements such as grindstones and fiber discs. With olive oil season just beginning, I will be in search of these more traditional plants and will try to capture this process. Stay tuned!

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