Olive Picking

Chat and items of interest about Crete and Greece.
andheath
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Location: Sitia - Stay Away - Go West

Olive Picking

Postby andheath » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:02 am

I know nothing about Olive Picking but we did buy a small mountain side with 50 trees on it although I have never counted them. The trees have not been watered, fed, sprayed or anything else this year but there did seem to be a lot of olives on them. It seemed a good idea to pick them.

Having borrowed a generator, a pole thing and loads of green nets we embarked on a weekend of the worst physical labor I think I have ever enjoyed. The results are, twenty trees done, sixteen big sacks of Olives, a sore thumb, a bad back and a question as to what happens next.

I have been to the local press with my tax number, they didn't seem to want anything else, they knew where the trees where and didn't laugh too much when they realized it was I who had bought them. The nice lady said I must ring two day before I take them so I will do that tomorrow. I have no idea how I am going to get them there, how much it costs, what sixteen sack of olives means in oil, or what I am going to do with it.

What I do know is that next year I will look at the photo's and if we need oil I will go to the supermarket and buy it. Too much like hard work for me but full respect to serious olive farmers, Greek and British.
This Cretan Adventure thing is way beyond a joke.

paulh
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Location: Akrotiri

Postby paulh » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:26 am

We have about 12 trees which is a nice manageable number for picking without it being too much. With that number it is easily transported in a car. We take our olives to the local press and he takes every thirteenth litre of the first press and has 100% of subsequent presses. No money involved. Whether this is standard or a deal my missus put together I don't know.
Some points. You are going to need a container for the oil (or several) and you will have to move them so a sack barrow is a good long term investment. Best to take the olives to the press within 24 or 36 hours of picking. Packed in a sack olives start to ferment which is an acidic reaction where olive oil quality is measured by it's lack of acidity. Don't worry about bits of leaf and twig in the picked olives, they have machines to remove the detritus prior to pressing. Enjoy your own oil, shop oil can be good but there is nothing like your own.

andheath
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:46 am
Location: Sitia - Stay Away - Go West

Postby andheath » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:05 am

Thanks Paul. But what size of container, what is the ratio of olives to oil, what is sixteen sacks worth?

100% of subsequent presses? is that not everything?
This Cretan Adventure thing is way beyond a joke.

Xenos
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:26 pm

Postby Xenos » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:19 am

Andheath,

I have spent a lot of time learnig how to be idle. This is what I do.

I have a trusted Greek friend. He picks my olives, puts them in sacks and takes them to the press. The press buys the oil. A few days later my friend comes round with the paperwork from the press and gives me half of the money. He keeps the other half.

Simple, speedy and efficient. What more could you ask?

Hudson
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: East Crete

Postby Hudson » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:35 am

An approximate answer:

Let's say the sacks weigh in at between 40 & 50 kg ....so 45 kg
16 x 45 = 720 kgs

Ratio of olives to oil varies between 3:1 (good) and 5+:1 (why did I bother)

Taking the middle ground 4:1 your 720kg of olives will give you 180 KILOS not litres of oil.

1 litre of oil is about 0.88 kg so your 180 kilos of oil translates to 205 ltrs (approx).

You can take away as much or as little as you want and sell the rest to them. They will take about 8% including taxes etc.

You can take your oil away in the large "churns" which hold about 50kg (cost E22.5) or in the large 15Kg tins.

If you use the "churn" you will then need to transfer the oil to tins or dark coloured bottles or one of the large stainless steel containers that are available.

Enjoy it.............................you've earned it!!!

andheath
Posts: 587
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:46 am
Location: Sitia - Stay Away - Go West

Postby andheath » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:40 am

Paul sorry I was very tired and very thick. I woke up this morning thinking of subsequent presses and now of course I know exactly what you mean.

Well the news is the press takes 8% and another 2% if they come to pick them up. I think 2% seems a good deal so the lorry came this afternoon and took them away. I did say I would like to see the process and they have promised to ring me when my hard earned olives head the cue.

Thanks Hudson you are a font of knowledge. I will let you know how my ratios stack up against your calculations.
This Cretan Adventure thing is way beyond a joke.

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Postby Kilkis » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:05 pm

I've been told that, despite the olives looking pretty big, the yield of oil per kilo of fruit is on the low side this year. Obviously it varies from tree to tree but don't be surprised if you get a bit less than you think.

A minor point, but most sources seem to quote a density a bit higher than 0.9 rather than lower as suggested by Hudson. It won't make a big difference but, again it means that the number of litres will be lower.

I'm not trying to be picky. If this is the first time you have done it and you get less than you expected then you might think you are being ripped off. It ain't necessarily so.

Warwick

altohb
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Location: Sitia

Postby altohb » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:42 pm

Kilkis wrote:I'm not trying to be picky. If this is the first time you have done it and you get less than you expected then you might think you are being ripped off. It ain't necessarily so.

Warwick


The press should, however, tell you what ratio you achieve - ours does, anyway, so you will be able to see exactly what is what. At "our" press you can also see the whole process from beginning to end, and note the weight of olives which go into the press AFTER washing & cleaning, and then you see the weight of oil at the end. You can therefore do the sums for yourself!

Kathleen
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: North East UK/ex Rethymnon

Postby Kathleen » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:33 pm

Thanks for an interesting thread!

I had been wondering what sort of quantity of oil our five trees would give if the olives were picked. Last year they more or less went to waste, apart from those collected after falling by a Greek neighbour who arrived with his wheelbarrow when my friends were checking the garden.

The yield this year is very small since I had the trees properly pruned (not just to look 'pretty') last autumn. Next year I am hoping for the same guy to harvest them in exchange for a few litres of oil. Based on the calculations shown it will be worth his while.

altohb
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Location: Sitia

Postby altohb » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:13 pm

Kathleen - if you've had the trees pruned "properly" you've been lucky to have anything on them at all this year. Have you thought of picking what there are and pickling them if there are not enough to do anything else?

I did some last year, as an experiment, and it worked very well. Rather lengthy procedure, but worth it! Rather than bore everyone, PM me if you'd like the recipe.

You may well get some oil next year - here's hoping. We're having a good year this year (last year was rubbish), in terms of quantity of olives. We will start picking very soon, and in a few weeks will be sick of the sight of the things, as we have around 200 trees to pick, but having your own oil is wonderful. Next year we will, hopefully have more trees in production, so worth getting people in to help, but this time it is just the 2 of us!

Hudson
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Location: East Crete

Postby Hudson » Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:15 pm

Kilkis wrote:a density a bit higher than 0.9
Warwick


At the risk of being dense (sorry about the por pun) I'm not sure just what you mean by density of 0.9. How would this work out as Kg olives to Kg of oil?

If you mean 9kg of olives to 1kg of oil then that is a disaster.

Kathleen
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Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: North East UK/ex Rethymnon

Postby Kathleen » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:32 pm

altohb wrote:if you've had the trees pruned "properly" you've been lucky to have anything on them at all this year. Have you thought of picking what there are and pickling them if there are not enough to do anything else?


As you say, Altonb, I have had almost none on the trees this year, just the odd one on one of my trees, There were none at all on my large black producing ones which were laden last year. I understand from my Cretan friend that the smaller green olives crop less on an annual basis every year, whereas the large black ones are heavier on alternate years. Overall they even out in terms of quantity. Unfortunately we are not there full time to pick them at this time of year.

I have tried pickling them in previous years but working full time here in UK got overtaken by events (shift changes etc) and gave up. As you say it is a lengthy procedure. Guess I will have to have another go next autumn when I will be retired! Thanks for the recipe offer anyway.

Enjoy your harvesting and don't work too hard....... you probably need to stock up on the Radox!

Kathleen

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:06 am

Hudson wrote:
Kilkis wrote:a density a bit higher than 0.9
Warwick


At the risk of being dense (sorry about the por pun) I'm not sure just what you mean by density of 0.9. How would this work out as Kg olives to Kg of oil?

If you mean 9kg of olives to 1kg of oil then that is a disaster.


Nothing to do with the yield. Density is mass divided by volume. You said that 1000 cc of olive oil would have a mass of 880 grams. That is a density of 0.88. I was saying, on the basis of most sources I could find, that 1000 cc of olive oil would have a mass of a little over 900 grams, typically around 910 grams.

Warwick

andheath
Posts: 587
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:46 am
Location: Sitia - Stay Away - Go West

Postby andheath » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:31 am

The latest news is:

My sixteen sacks turned out to be fifteen, basically because counting is difficult after two days sliding up and down a mountain side in a state of very unaccustomed physical exhaustion.

This turned out to be 662 Kilos of the little green and black things.

Which subsequently produced 127 Kilos (not litres) of oil.

The press took their 10% which was 12.7 Kg

Another 3.4 percent goes in taxes and other Greek government projects such as subsidizing land sales to monasteries. ( Sorry I really am trying to stop doing that stuff in fear of being accused anti Greek).

Leaving 111 Kg of oil peripou.

The price offered today at the press was 2.20 Euros which I declined as they have no idea the expense, pain, blood, sweat and tears involved in producing this mighty haul, and so brought the whole lot home in three (2 1/2) of the white plastic milk churns so admirable described by Hudson.

The milk churns have to go back to the press tomorrow leaving us all asking the question as to what we are going to do with all this oil.

As for conversion rates, densities, etc. I am going to compare my notes with "A man who knows" and therefore should be able to produce a more scientific report in due course.

Finally.... my oil is very green and smells a lot like wet grass.
This Cretan Adventure thing is way beyond a joke.

Hudson
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: East Crete

Postby Hudson » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:39 am

Kilkis wrote:
Nothing to do with the yield. Density is mass divided by volume. You said that 1000 cc of olive oil would have a mass of 880 grams. That is a density of 0.88. I was saying, on the basis of most sources I could find, that 1000 cc of olive oil would have a mass of a little over 900 grams, typically around 910 grams.

Warwick


OK, so my kitchen equipment is not up tp lab standards. Not going to fall out over 30grm, I'll use your figure in future. It is easier to apply than 0.88!


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