One of the most important stages in olive oil production is the harvesting. Due to their age, our olive trees are tall, between 15-25 metres high, out of reach of the pickers’ ladders, presenting a special challenge for harvesting. Many olive producers resort to beating the branches, which causes breakages, or even violently shaking the trunk in order to get at the high olives, thus affecting the quality of the next season’s produce.
Treating nature’s generosity with respect
The Dafnis family have developed our own method of hand-harvesting, using a rod which gently vibrates for not more than 15 seconds, and does not “shock” the tree or cause damage or small wounds to the branches. The olives fall into nets, which are slightly raised so that when they fall, they are not bruised from impact with the ground. Timing of the harvest is very important. Harvesting begins in early October, a few days before the unripe green olives begin to turn. Of course, olives do not all ripen on the same day. We must be vigilant to gather the olives at exactly the right moment, usually within a 3-week window, and bring each batch to the family mill for pressing in under 24 hours. This careful harvesting method treats nature’s generosity with respect, producing a low yield per tree of exceptionally high quality olives. Where other olive producers expect 350 kilos, we look for about 50 kilos per tree of perfect olives.