Visit to the Olive Mill, Bivongi ~ Romancing Italy

Nov 20, 2009

Visit to the Olive Mill, Bivongi

Yesterday was my second day picking olives and after all the hot weather that greeted me on my arrival, the temperature dropped as the fog settled in. This is a view of the lowland (at 6:48am when I really should be in a warm bed)

The Picking
The upper portion of the property already had nets spread and we took to beating, combing, picking, whatever was necessary, to get the olives off the branches. I soon found my own rhythm, where I'd vigorously comb the branches, separating clumps like a stylist does hair so as to not miss any. I was allowed to pull and snag its "hair" just as long as it got to slap my face every once in a while!

My third day, today, found me standing out in the early morning hours in a damp grove. the trees and tall grasses were covered in droplets of water due to high humidity from that darn fog and it was, well... cold. I took this photo as we hiked back up to the car...seems unfair that we let her take the bag, but I swear, she insisted!

The Olive Mill
I took a very hurried tour of the facility that turns those dark beauties into delicious oil. (It was just before lunch ... enough said I'm sure).

Customers leave their pickings in these crates, along with their contact info AND the containers that the oil is to be placed in. (No containers means you miss your turn). A lift transports the crate to the bin (on the right) where they pass up a conveyor, through something like a small waterfall and then dunked for a good wash (below left). Leaves get separated and removed in the process.

Clean olives are sucked over to a vat where a blade continually grinds and mashes them into a profumatic mush.

Then the mush gets digested by another machine that separates the oil from whatever water is in it.

The dehydrated mush is still very useful and gets carted off to another factory where another batch of oil is extracted before the remnant is used in the making of bricks.

Absolutely nothing gets wasted!


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