Olive harvesting is one of the most delicate processes involved with olive cultivation, whether done manually or mechanically. Olives must be collected at exactly the right time in order to achieve optimal flavor.
Green olives boast an earthy taste and have a long shelf life, making them suitable for oil or food production. Harvested and stored correctly, these fruits can also be harvested and preserved to be sold or eaten fresh by consumers.
Early Life and Education
Many olive groves are too hilly or mountainous for mechanized harvesting, leaving small producers to hand harvest olives on their own or as part of other duties and responsibilities. These producers typically possess just a few hectares of trees without sufficient infrastructure to support mechanized harvesting methods.
Mechanized olive harvesting requires placing nets below an olive tree and driving over it with a tractor equipped with a vibrating mechanism, shaking it to cause olives to come loose from their branches and fall onto a net below. This causes their harvesting.
Harvesters then remove the olives from the net and place them into burlap bags for transport to the press. A trained sensory panel has confirmed that oil produced from mechanized harvests is indistinguishable from hand-harvested olives in terms of its quality.
An olive harvester works long, often 24/7 hours. Each day, around half a billion olives are collected using traditional harvest methods; often by hand. Harvesters wear an apron and use only their hands for this work as it ensures safe working practices for themselves as well as the olive trees they harvest from.
Mechanical harvesting can also be achieved. To do so, specialized machines, such as large shakers that grip the olive tree and shake it frequently with high frequencies are required.
Starting in late August or September, this process typically lasts several months. Paying attention to tree activity, understanding seasonal rhythms and waiting until just the right moment are vital in creating desired flavor in olives that may appear green, yellow-green, rosy brown or even black depending on their level of ripeness.
Achievement and Honors
Producing top-grade table olives requires many considerations. Of particular note are harvest time and handling during this process.
Oil from olives can be extracted for olive oil production or brined or dry-cured to produce salty wrinkled products, depending on which cultivars were grown and the final flavor profile and texture desired by consumers.
Pasolivo of San Luis Obispo County produces extra virgin olive oils that have won 32 awards since 2016. General Manager Marisa Bloch Gaytan told Olive Oil Times that these achievements are rewarding but remain focused on maintaining consistent quality for customers.
Olive harvesting is a time for celebration and togetherness. For many Palestinian farmers, olive groves provide their sole source of income and have deep spiritual significance across three religions. Furthermore, their trees symbolize resilience against Israeli forces and settlers oppression.
First step of hand-picking olives involves placing tarps under trees, to protect olives from rotting while maintaining an orderly work area. Enlist the assistance of family and friends during this process for faster results.
As soon as your olives have been collected, use a rake to dislodge and collect them onto a tarp for easy collection. A ladder may also help reach higher branches for harvest. Once harvested, be sure to use them immediately; their delicate skins could quickly oxidize if left in storage for too long and become soured.
Olive Harvester market growth has experienced rapid expansion recently due to several factors, including increased consumer interest and advanced technologies that make these harvesters more accessible and viable options for consumers. Unfortunately, however, industry is still facing some obstacles and challenges.
Olive growers must ensure they inspect and remove from nets any reptiles entrapped therein, immediately. At the end of their useful lives, these nets should also be collected up and disposed of so as to deter snakes from returning into their fields again – this will ensure the quality of harvested olives does not decline due to being trapped by these nets.