We have picked the olives. Now it is time to extract the oil.
We find ourselves in the actual oil mill, where the olives arrive as soon as they are picked. They pass immediately through the leaf remover, a machine that cleans the fruits of leaves and from small twigs that escaped our farmers’ attention. But this isn’t enough.
To clean them even better we use olive washers, special machines that use water to clean the olives of dust and other small naturally present elements.
Now that they are well cleaned, the olives pass through the crusher where the actual act of oil extraction begins: the milling.
The route that takes the olives to become oil all begins with the milling, a phase which, through a mechanic action, creates the olive paste, a mixture of solid and liquid parts. In our oil mill we use the crusher technique, that comes from the means of a machine called, precisely, a hammer crusher and that integrates itself perfectly with the modern needs of automation of new plants. The loading is done from above by belt elevators that take the fruits directly from the olive washers and that pour the olive paste from below, into the mixers. Through this type of milling the break-down of the cell walls of the membranes is caused by the impact of the mechanical devices that rotate at high speed, enabling it to happen in a greatly reduced time indicating that this technique is perfect for continuous and automated manufacturing cycles.
The paste obtained then passes to the second phase, the mixing. Through a specific machine we are able to demulsify the oil and the paste, collecting the precious drops thanks to slow movements and to gentle heating. This process can be considered the most important of all in such that it defines the properties of the final product.
Depending on the chosen temperature, for us between 25° and 27°, the oil can hold the denomination “cold”. Not only simply a denomination: a cold extracted extra virgin olive oil possesses a sublime quality, unmatchable flavours and aromas and keeps intact the substance which makes it so beneficial: the polyphenols.
The extraction finally sees the appearance of a product which in characteristics and appearance is very close to the extra virgin olive oil that we all know. The technique that we use involves extraction using a centrifuge, also called a “decanter”.
Now we have arrived at the final phase. Once the extraction has been completed, the must obtained still contains a minimum percentage of water, which will be eliminated in order to not affect the quality of the oil. To do this a characteristic of the actual oil, or the non-miscibility is used: being lighter than water, the oil floats to the surface, while the water sinks to the bottom. To separate them a centrifugal force, that allows the elimination of the water thanks to high speed rotation, is used.
And finally, the extra virgin olive oil has arrived! Now it needs to be packaged.