Virgin olive oil is produced using mechanical processes only, and chemical or biochemical additives are strictly forbidden in the production process. Therefore the fresh and healthy olive fruit is the main prerequisite for producing high quality virgin olive oil.
Harvesting unripe fruits will eventually result in less oil, but the oil will be of a better quality (containing only small amounts of free fatty acids, more phenols etc.). Harvesting ripe olives will yield more oil, but, at the same time, higher rates of free fatty acids and less natural antioxidants. Harvesting is performed manually, using combs, or mechanically, using self-propelled machines that shake off the fruits. A significant amount of leaves that end up among the fruits need to be removed, usually by airflow, in order to avoid blending unbalanced scents and excessive astringency.
Washed and cleansed, with leaves and twigs removed, olives are crushed and chopped up in different kinds of mills. During the process, the oil that was stored in vacuoles in the fruit mesocarp cells gets released and it reacts with enzymes, oxygen and other substances in the olive fruit, which initiates many physical, chemical and biochemical reactions that shape the composition and characteristics of oil.
Ground olives need to be stirred in order to melt down the oil emulsion in water and consolidate the oil drops to appropriate size. Keeping the olive matter temperature at 27°C and stirring it over an extended period of time will ensure better oil extraction.
Stirring is a very important part of oil production as it is a decisive factor for oil having positive and negative oil characteristics. That particularly refers to enzyme reactions that determine the presence of fresh herbal fruity, vegetable and herbaceous flavors and taste of piquancy and bitterness.
The final stage in the process of turning olives into virgin olive oil is oil extraction from the olive matter by means of centrifugation. New virgin olive oil may remain cloudy due to small particles of olive pulp remains and droplets of herbal water dispersed in oil. Freshly produced oil can be clarified by sedimentation or filtration.
By the time of bottling, the oil must be kept away from heat, light and oxygen in stainless steel tanks pressed by an inert gas at the temperature of 15-18 ºC.
- Olives are cold-pressed at 27 ºC in our own oil mill, directly from the olive fruit within 12 hours of picking
- The whole process is computerized, beginning with the collection all the way to the weighing of olive oil produced in the process.