How is olive oil produced?

Created on 17th Sep 2018

In its simplest form, the production of olive oil follows a similar process to making wine - the fruit grows on the tree, is harvested, the juice squeezed from the fruit, bottled and consumed - just with a few more technical stages in between. The award-winning Pomora olive oil growers - Antonio in Campania and Carmelo in Sicily - are true craftsmen at the production of olive oil, taking on the skills passed down from the generations before them. They carefully tend to the olive trees in the olive groves, harvest the olives, extract the olive oil and then bottle at the end.

Below gives an overview of the olive oil production process:

Growing and Harvesting
The Pomora farmers, Antonio in Campani and Carmelo in Sicily, lovingly tend to the olive trees throughout the year so that come Autumn the olives are ready to be picked. In Italy, both in Campania and Sicily, this is typically very late October or November, depending on the weather. The last few years have been very hot, so the harvest time moves later to the back of Autumn. Only the finest olives make the cut though!

Cleaning the Olives
When the ripe olives arrive at the frantoio, or mill, they are washed and any extraneous leaves or twigs removed.

Crushing, Grinding and Malaxation
The clean olives go into the crusher to break down the olives to release the oil within the olive cells, creating a paste. Traditionally stone mills were used for crushing - Carmelo still has the original stone from his grandfather outside his frantoio - but modern mills use steel crushers. The olive paste subsequently goes into the malaxation machine where it is slowly churned to allow the oil droplets to aggregate together. The smell of fresh olives in the frantoio is truly mouthwatering.

Oil Extraction and Separation
Next is the first of two centrifuges which separates the oil and water from the pomace which is removed and recycled. These horizontal centrifuges spin at approximately 2,500 rpm, but there is more rotation to come for the olives! The oil and water then go to a second, vertical centrifuge which separates the oil from the water. These spin at approximately 6,000 rpm - dizzy!

The oil is either filtered to remove any suspended particles or goes into a decantation tank where any remaining cloudiness is allowed to settle out.

Bottling and Delivery
Once ready, the olive oil is bottled into tins ready for delivery. This is the end of the journey for the olives, but the start of a taste sensation for you.

Once you receive your Pomora olive oil, learn How to taste Olive Oil.

Throughout the whole olive oil production process, careful handling and adherence to quality standards are essential to produce high-quality olive oil with optimal flavour, aroma, and nutritional properties. It is wonderful experience watching the process of how olive oil is produced; we actually encourage any Pomora Adoptive olive tree parents to visit their tree in Campania or Sicily and Antonio or Carmelo respectively, will be delighted to show you the process of making high quality olive oil.