There was not a lot of space between day one and two so it all seems a bit garbled to me. I know I rushed to the office first thing to take care of the bare minimums that needed to be done for the other 90% of the business. As I was working away the phone rang….it was Paul, the orchard manager. The crews were jamming and it would be an early finish with another truck full today. Needless to say, I put my papers in the appropriate piles, said my good-byes and ran out the door.
When I arrived at Twin Sisters, I was amazed to see how many macros (1/2 ton bins) had already been loaded. I was a bit anxious because it felt like it was going so fast…and I was missing out on the moments. I jumped out of my car and quickly headed for the action. With every step I took into the orchard, I felt more and more calm. It was as if I was doing a walking meditation though unaware….until I began to look around me at the trees that were now bare. They looked tired….and a little worn….but you could still see and sense their strength. Finding the crew was no longer a priority. Being present was.
When the tree is glowing and full of fruit, you only think of its beauty and the quality of its olives….when it is freshly picked, you see the core…the heart. The tree is battered and bruised but NOT broken….and given a little rest, it will be right back on top and ready to go again.
The truck was loaded and we were ready to go by 3pm. The sun was out and all was going as planned.
We drove in peacefully and they began to unload the truck. I walked into the mill to say hello and as I looked up, I saw it….this almost neon green elixir spewing out into a stainless steel bucket. I began walking toward it as if nothing else existed. Pepe, the mill operator, was standing by smiling…”your oil”, he said with a grin..”this is your oil”.
Wow…it was softer in the mouth then I had expected…and had a huge peppery finish. It was so green…so fresh…tasted like the earth…like grass….like alfalfa…buttery….spicey….very true to its core. All my worry went out the door….Mother Nature had given us her blessing.
I stood and simply stared at the oil on several different occasions that night. At one point, Paul came up from behind me and quietly said, “All because of a seed”. It was at then that I collapsed and began to weep uncontrollably….ha…just kidding….but it was a very cool moment….
I eventually disconnected from the oil and began to look around me. Watching this process will never get old to me…..it’s so magical.
The olives come are poured from the macro bin into a hopper that separates the leaves and takes them to be washed.
Once washed, the olives head for the blade mill. The mill is the top container on the machine below. The olives are chopped up into paste and then dropped into the malaxation process below. This system has a double malaxation process….you can see the two tanks on the bottom. Here the pasted is mixed until the oil begins to separate.
Once the paste has passed through the malaxation process, the solid is waste and the liquid is put into a centrifuge. The liquid consists of the extra virgin olive oil and vegetable water. You need to separate the two quickly as exposure to vegetable water can cause defects in the olive oil.
Above is the paste begin dumped…..
The leaves from the olives are blown into this bag and used for compost.
The process will continue all week. We bring in the olives at night and they press them the next day. We should have our last oil coming out on Thursday and then will know our total yield…..hmm…..wonder who won this one?!