About Me

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Crete, Greece
Married to the lovely Geoffrey, my soulmate. I have two fantastic big kids,both married, whom I love and miss every day I'm not with them, but I know they're living and loving their lives and we make up for time when we get together.I now have three granddaughters too...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Harvest is In!!!!!

We help our friend Julie pick her olives every year. It's hard work but fun, my tree-hugging husband wouldn't miss it! Julie has been buying up small amounts of olive trees for a few years now and has approx. 80 - 90. That's not a lot in the whole scheme of things but it's enough for us to harvest.

We have the equipment - nets, generator,electric flailers, sacks and a riddler.

The flail not only shakes the olives from the trees, they also take off the leaves, so, everything is tipped into the riddler and shaken vigorously. The drupes fall through the mesh into sacks, leaving twigs and leaves on top.

We've always been very lucky with the weather and it's so wonderful to be able to sit in the grove and have a picnic consisting of fresh bread, feta, tomatoes and beer, we jolly well earn it!

This is Julie and behind her is a dog she has adopted, Baby Dog, which suffers from epileptic fits when not on medication.

Every drupe counts!!

The olive oil press yard is filling up with sacks and sacks tied up and waiting for their turn...

The press is computerised so Julie's sacks of olives are weighed as they are tipped onto the conveyor belt.

They get a jolly good wash and the leaves are blown off before

they arrive at the macerator where they are mashed and heated for about an hour.

Then, the pulp travels to a seperator where hot water is added and this seperates the olive oil from the pulp as oil floats on water. The pulp is removed to other factories where further pressings produce lower grades of oil and soap.

After the seperator the liquid is run through a centrifuge type device which seperates the oil from the water, then, look at this... the golden oil starts pouring into a huge vat.

A smiling Julie with Vangelis, the press owner. Last night's pressing was a great success. From 787kgs of drupes, 188kgs of olive oil was extracted. This was from only 20 of her trees. The press takes 10% of oil as payment. If Julie sold the oil to the press they would give her 2.10 euros per kilo. It's a very low price this year.

Greece reputedly, has the best oil in Europe, but they only market 5% of their exported oil as their own. The rest is sold to mainly Italy where it is mixed with their inferior oils.Don't ask me why!

If you would like to know any more look here
This is a brilliant blog full of true Cretan cookery and life.


bindu said...

This is so interesting! I wish I could come over and help. Sounds like the best way to live life. :)

Blu said...

Great pictures..I so love Crete, what about the olives for eating can you make a post about those. Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Brittany France.

Cheryl said...

I just told Maria that we don't have any of the fancy-schmancy equipment for harvesting our olives. We always hire help and they do it all the old fashioned way...beating the branches etc...
I'm glad that you posted the pics of the press because I've never gone there since my husband usually makes his appts. rather late. Very interesting. Nothing like having your own oil. We've put some of our oil in decorative bottles for gifts this year.

Have a Merry Christmas!

sukipoet said...

Fascinating. Did you say how they get the pits out? Once in California at an art colony, one of our tasks was to pick the olives off the olive trees. By hand. There werent a lot of them. I think they took them someplace or other to be processed.

Maria Verivaki said...

smashing photos!
i'm linking this post in my post about the harvest
90 olive trees is plenty - it gives you your own oil year-round

Maria Verivaki said...

Have a great Christmas - we may even meet up in the new year!

soulbrush said...

what truly joyful photos, showing a job well done, have a blessed and merry xmas jude and i am so glad we are bloggy mates now. hugs.

Katiejane said...

I would so love to sit down at your picnic with you. Bread, feta, tomatoes and beer! My favorite! Especially if you have a little basil herbed olive oil to run the bread around in. Who needs more than that? This is a meal to die for. In fact, I'm making chicken parmesan tonite. I do so love olives, black or green. Yummmm.

Anonymous said...

Nice to find your blog, please say hi to Julie for me - even though she may not remember me.

marianne said...

Wow what an interesting post!
To see step by step how my olive oil is made!
Must be heaven to leave there!

Mim said...

This is so amazing, I never saw the process before..I thought brine was involved but that might have been for the eating olives. what a great day and congrads on the wedding!!!