Our olive orchards are on the side of a mountain and it's not always easy to haul the gear we need by hand. Lucky for us our cousin has this handy machine called a Moto-zappa. It certainly makes our lives easier when it comes to bringing the ladders and crates and everything else we need to harvest!
Our olives are picked by hand. In order to collect the olives once they are picked we must lay nets under the trees. Once the tree has been picked we can then simply gather up the corners of the nets and scoop all the olives into crates. Just be careful you don't step on any!
We pick all of our olives by hand, the way it's been done for hundreds of years. A ladder comes in handy to reach the top branches, and the ability to climb doesn't hurt either!
We harvest all of our olives by hand, the same way it's been done for hundreds of years. This ensures we don't miss an olive, and that the trees get the care and respect they need.
It's important to fuel your body when you're picking from sun up to sun down! A quick lunch break and then it's back to picking! Even 99 year old Cesare does his part in picking.
Once the olives have been picked and have dropped onto the nets, they must be scooped up and put into crates. Don't step on any!
Our olives are picked by hand, and the cleaning is done by hand as well, with the help of a simple machine. The fan blows a blast of air over the olives as they drop into the crate, causing any loose leaves to fly out.
Once the olives are picked and cleaned, they must be taken to the local Frontoio (press) to be processed into olive oil. It just so happens that the drive to the local press is very scenic!
Upon arriving at the press you must unload your olives into the crates provided by the Frontoio. They can then weigh the olives and give you a time to return to supervise your olives being pressed.
We arrive at the press at our designated time. We must now wait our turn and then watch the olives go through the whole process, from whole olives to mash to oil. You can never be sure how long you'll be waiting with your olives....
After all the hard work of picking, cleaning and waiting it's finally time to press our olives into beautiful oil! The olives get cleaned one more time, then they are ground into a mash. The mash is then churned for 50 minutes to help separate the oil from the crushed olives. The mash then gets pressed and you have the finished product, a beautiful cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil!
After all the picking and pressing is done it's time to give the olive trees a little TLC. Pruning is very important to ensure the trees continue to produce year after year. Here Gianni is getting a pruning lesson from Luciano, who has years and years of experience under his belt.
Once the pruning is done all the fallen branches have to be collected. It's hard work, but as with the entire process, it must be done in order to maintain a healthy olive orchard.
An ancient way to ensure your olive orchards get fertilized is by allowing a shepherd to turn their flock loose and trim the grass, in turn providing you with all natural fertilizer.
Sometimes an orchard needs a little extra care, and after the pruning is done turning a flock of sheep loose to fertilize is just not enough. In such a case, it's time to call in the big guns! A load of sheep manure from a local farmer is dropped off and it's time to shovel the sh*t! Olive trees love sheep manure and this is one way to ensure they are getting the nutrients needed to keep producing year after year.