Our extraction process includes six stages:
Harvesting and transferring
One of the keys of our excellence is choosing the perfect time to harvest the olives by identifying the right level of maturity with a healthy looking, a good size and color of the fruit. All olives start out green and then gradually become rosy and finally black. Depending upon the type of oil the producer is making, a combination of all three may be used for milling. Traditionally, picking olives is done by hand. Today, more growers use modern machinery to help them harvest the crop. Then they are placed in plastic crates and are transferred directly to our state of the art olive oil mill approximately within a few hours.
Cleaning the Olives
In the olive oil extraction process, it is very important to clean the olives properly in order to guarantee suitable conditions to obtain the best possible product. Introducing clean olives into the process also means the machinery in the extraction line is protected from excessive wear and tear. The purpose of the washing section is to remove leaves, dirt, stones and other heavy extraneous objects before the olives enter the second part of the processing line, the grinding stage. The leaves and other lightweight items are sucked out by an exhaust fan, while dirt and heavier objects such as stems, leaves, twigs, and any other debris left are removed using water. Once again the olives are well-washed with water to remove pesticides, ensuring the best result with utmost care.
Grinding the Olives into a Paste
Paste preparation is one of our critical steps in determining quality of olive oil obtained. The purpose of grinding is to tear the flesh cells to facilitate the release of the oil from the vacuoles.
For this reason we use crushers of the latest technology which do not increase the temperature during grinding and allow us to crush the olives in different ways depending always on the variety of the harvest.
The next is malaxing. malaxation is the action of slowly churning or mixing milled olives, typically for 20 to 40 minutes. The churning allows the smaller droplets of oil released by the milling process to aggregate and be more easily separated. Oil yield is proportional to the temperature and mixing time.It takes place under a controlled atmospheric pressure and temperature that does not exceed the 22-25 degrees °C/71.6 - 77°F per variety (cold pressing) which is necessary for maintaining the highest quality of olive oil.
This process let us succeed three goals:
- To ensure that olives are well grounded
- To guarantee enough time for the olive drops to join to form the largest droplets of olive oil
- To allow the fruit enzymes to produce some of the oil aromas and tastes
Separating the Oil from the Water and other Solids
By using Alfa Laval, a two phase centrifugal machine we manage to separate the olive oil from the rest of the olive components.The oil coming out of the first centrifuge is further processed to eliminate any remaining water and solids by a second centrifuge that rotates faster.
Storing and packaging
In our facilities there is a specially organized department for packaging, with all the required certifications. After the olive oil is produced, we conduct chemical analysis to ensure the ultimate quality. We then separate the oil into lots based on olive variety and quality and store them in stainless steel containers, using nitrogen to fill empty space in the tanks so the olive oil is not exposed to the air. Finally, we use automated bottling equipment to fill our bottles or tins with the delicious extra virgin olive oil. The final product is sealed, labeled, and marked with batch number and its expiration date, and it is ready to be shipped all over the world in order to be enjoyed by our customers.