It's that time of year again. As the sun shines and olives fatten up and begin to ripen our thoughts turn to how we are going to get them off the trees and into the press. We look in envy at some of the larger olive groves that have automatic pickers and shakers, even those who spread out nets and comb their trees – being a ‘boutique’ operation of only 1000 trees we are a little more primitive – we hand pick our olives! Whilst this is laborious and labour intensive it does ensure that our olives do not get bruised (the Manzanillas and Missions can be very ‘precious’ especially when ripe).
Of course, the main objective is to only pick as many as we can press the same day – this ensures that the oil retains the best flavour and achieves the highest quality.
At Galenia we press the cultivars individually and then taste the three oils (Frantoio, Mission and Manzanilla) and then have fun blending them together to make our Estate and Directors blends. If we think that any of the oils have outstanding qualities, then we bottle a single cultivar (usually Frantoio).
The crop of 2018 is certainly not going to be our highest yield as our trees recover from their severe prune of two years ago, but hopefully we will have sufficient for our guests and our kitchen. We remain optimistic for the 2019 harvest!!!