In Sicily, the olive harvest for making olive oil is in full swing right now. Today, it is a highly technical process with stainless steel equipment exploited in squeaky clean, laboratory-type workshops. Before the modern press, this block of limestone, as one example, was the base of an olive mill. Imagine a series of wheel-shaped baskets made of rough wicker filled with olives, stacked on top of the stone shown. Then on top of that, a heavy mill stone, topped with a big, log-like strew pressing down and turning in order to macerate and press the fruit between the wicker that acted as sharp knives breaking down the skins and flesh of the olives. The macerated contents flowed into a bucket to catch the oil.
Like wine making, olive cultivation for table olives and olive oil is a year-long, carefully monitored process. I enjoy sharing the olive cultivation process with our Experience Sicily clients, because once you are familiar with the land and the way of life of the farmers, you want to choose only the best oil for your family’s table.