When is the olive harvested?
The collection of table olives takes place in autumn, during the months of September and October when the fruit reaches its correct size, and before it begins to change colour, although the type of plantation, the methodology, and techniques applied in the collection and the state of the ripening of the fruit, will ultimately determine the optimal moment to do it.
The first step in this process consists of preparing the floors, cleaning the area, and adapting it to facilitate the mobility of the machines. Once this is done, everything is ready for the collection of the fruit, which can be carried out in different ways. One of them is known as flight, which is when the olive is caught directly from the tree. If, on the other hand, it is collected after having fallen from the tree due to its own maturation, it is called soil collection. Once this is done, the next step is to clear the olive and clean it to separate the fruit from possible branches and leaves that may have detached.
It should be noted that a very important part of the production is collected by the traditional method known as milking, where the olive is rescued from the olive tree by hand and one by one in order to avoid damage. This is the case, for example, of Manzanillas or Gordales, although in other varieties, such as Hojiblanca, mechanized harvesting is increasingly used.
The operator normally works from the ground or on stairs, passing his hand through the branches and dropping the fruits on some curtains spread on the ground. In the bending, the fruits also fall on these curtains, but, in this case, a stick of between one and four meters is used to move the branches of the olive tree. In this phase, it is essential to ensure that the blows strike laterally, without causing damage to the olive tree, as this could affect the production of the following year. The vibrating technique couples a mechanical arm to a tractor machine that is manipulated by a person. This arm vibrates the olive tree until the olives fall. At Aceitunas Torrent, as an olive exporting company, we have been taking care of tradition for more than 120 years, to guarantee that our product always has the best flavour and quality.
Once the olives are clean, the most advanced technologies are used throughout the production process where there are mainly two different procedures, depending on whether the olive is green or black.
In the case of green olives, once it reaches the industry, it undergoes the first treatment to eliminate the bitter taste and prepare it for subsequent lactic fermentation. It also serves to develop the organoleptic characteristics of the fruit. They are then placed in brine for a period that can vary from three to six months, depending on the type, variety, and future presentation of the olive. This phase is where the fermentation takes place that turns the olive into edible fruit.
Black olives have a different treatment. Upon arrival at the industry, they are directly preserved in brine, and once classified they undergo a treatment that provides them their characteristic colour. They are packed and preserved by heat sterilization.