Harvesting and Milling
Olives ripen at their own pace. At any point in time during the peak ripening period from October to December, some will be bright green, others purple and still others absolute black. In choosing a harvest date, we carefully balance several factors: optimum taste profile, maximum level of polyphenols, availability of picking crews and mills, and the average frost date for our area – which is near Thanksgiving Day. Frost can damage olives. Young Coratina olive trees will produce a sharper flavor, so we will try to harvest as late as possible to ensure a balanced oil in terms of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency – the three pillars of the taste profile of good extra virgin olive oil.
At the end of a harvest day, we truck our fresh-picked olives to the mill. At the mill we have a choice of using a three-wheel granite stone-crusher and or the 3 ton/hour blade crusher. This gives us some options for enhancing the taste profile, since stone crushing will likely yield a softer oil. The milled olives are then passed through a 4 batch malaxer, 3-phase decanter, a final separator, and stored until bottled.