We had our own single-estate olive oil pressed locally last December.

04 200 kilos of olives11 off to the lagar .

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.16 170 kilos more

I loaded 200 kilos into the box on the back of the tractor and Janet brought the rest in the car.

The lagar (pictured) was refitted this year with new machinery and we could take our crop to it in the tractor – at 15mph cruising speed even a six mile drive is a fair run, although much nearer that the previous lagar at forty miles.

20 lagar  looks unassuming

22 unloading We tipped our hand-picked crop into a huge green crate for processing.

They weighed 357 kilos and Janet’s name in Portuguese, Joaninha, is on the batch ticket. Her name is “ladybird” in their language so they remember it.

31 olives washed then chopped

32 chopped paste pureed for 20mins. Background, water added and oil centifuged off  The batch was tipped into a hopper then washed and chopped up.

Then it was macerated at 30° for twenty minutes in the machine where Janet is standing, before being pumped to the primary separator (background left in photo) where water was added to drive the oil from the slurry of broken olive pips and mush, the oil being centrifuged off.

The cloudy moist oil was centrifuged a second time to purify it.

39 second centrifuge and inspection tank second centrifuge and inspection tank,

40 inspection and collecting saucepanwith collecting saucepan (!)

41 our fresh oil Our fresh oil, was then run into one of eight 100 litre storage tanks. The larger tanks behind them hold 500 litres.

42 being run into storage tank

Our 364 kilos of olives yielded 52 litres of lovely fragrant yellow-green oil, and I had the pleasure of bottling it while it was still slightly warm.

45 C  bottling our own olive oil at lagar

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