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Olive harvest 2022
Olive harvest 2022
How and when to do it

For the olive harvest, two key processes create the ideal composition of flavours, aromas, and numerous health properties of our extra virgin olive oil.
The first occurs when the olives are harvested at the beginning of the ripening season, in order to capture their emerald green colour and fresh flavours.
Then, within a few hours after harvesting, the olives are pressed in the Frescobaldi oil mill to ensure the highest quality.

The olive harvest process
In what month are olives harvested, with what equipment, and to what degree of ripeness?
The fascinating process that takes us from the olive grove to the oil mill is not easy: let’s discover how we are able to create olive oil of the highest quality.

When is the best time to harvest olives?
Predominantly, the best period for harvesting olives is in October and never after November 30th.
However, many factors can impact this date: the weather conditions in the area in which they are grown and the year, the variety of olives (early and late) and the exposure and altitude of the olive grove to the sun.

How to understand the degree of ripeness of the olives?
Unripe and ripe olives are typically divided into different phases, but the harvest always takes place when the olives are beginning to ripen.
This is called the veraison process, once it starts the fruits will turn from green to purple and must be harvested before turning black.
As a result, all the properties that would generally be reduced remain intact in the oil, allowing Laudemio Frescobaldi to produce the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Let's discover the different phases:

  1. The herbaceous phase refers to the first level of ripening, the embryonic stage that presents a hard and emerald green olive. In Tuscany, these olives are generally harvested in the first half of October and produce a fragrant early harvest olive oil, with a pleasantly spicy taste and excellent nutritional, organoleptic and antioxidant properties. Harvesting at this stage decreases the risk of insect infestation.
  2. In the next stage, the veraison phase, the olive changes colour from emerald green to purple. Considering this is the moment when there is the greatest concentration of polyphenols, the oil produced is of superior quality both from a nutritional and aromatic point of view. We can consider it the best time to collect olives for oil.
  3. A fully ripe olive bears an almost totally black colour. This phase is ideal to produce oil, but only in terms of quantity and is less suitable for those looking for superior quality.
  4. The oil obtained from an overripe olive that tends to fall to the ground is of inferior quality. From a quantitative point of view, a high production yield is guaranteed, but the flavour obtained will be far less intense, whereas a ripe olive will generate a more eminent acidity due to the fermentation it undergoes.
    Furthermore, decay and rotting can occur especially from fruits picked from the ground; for this reason, we tend to avoid this olive.


What are the threats that put olive harvests at risk?
The method used to harvest the olives determines the qualitative result, in fact, it has a powerful impact on the quality of the oil.
Leaving the olives to ripen for too long increases the risk of them falling to the ground and rotting, as well as potential attacks by insects, such as the olive fly and the olive moth.

It is equally important to be careful with the tools and machinery used to facilitate the work in order to not damage the plant.
Machinery must be checked properly and handled knowingly and with care to avoid ruining the olive trees and ultimately damaging the olives.
Our environmentally friendly cultivation guarantees the exceptional quality of our process and our olive trees.

How are olives harvested?
There are several methods collecting olives; these can be divided into two categories: using mechanized tools or manually picking the fruits.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the speed of this process because once detached from the branch the olives start to lose their aromas and freshness.
Therefore, whether the olives are picked by hand or with a machine, it is crucial to ensure the rapid pressing of intact fruits.

What are the main techniques used for harvesting olives?

  • Hand-picking olives
    • This is the best method for making accurate choices, by picking olives one by one you can reduce the likelihood of damage and select olives that have reached a perfect level of ripeness.
      This method is the most traditional, and of course takes much longer and can be difficult to maintain.
      As a result, picking olives by hand will not guarantee a high-quality oil because too much crucial time will be spent between harvesting and pressing.
  • Battery-operated electric machinery
    • A very popular technique is to shake the branches, this work is carried out by special machines that possess strong power.
      It is also an alternative to bacchiatura (beating down). Bacchiatura should not be used, as the olives tend to be damaged and therefore will not arrive at the mill intact.
      Shaking is a method that saves a lot of time and is suitable for very large olive groves, where manual harvesting becomes very complicated due to their extension.
    • Alternatively, there are over-the-row tractors that perform a combined shaking and combing action.
      These are mainly used in the most modern crops; it is the fastest and therefore most qualitative method to make the best-quality olive oil.

How are freshly picked olives preserved?
Conceptually olives are not meant to be preserved, instead, the olives must be taken to the mill immediately.
In other words, the time between harvesting and pressing should be as short as possible. When it comes to transport, the use of bags is not recommended, it is better to use boxes of a maximum of 15 Kg so that the olives do not get crushed and receive the right amount of ventilation. It is crucial to understand how to treat freshly harvested olives, in fact, to make our oil extraordinary we bring the olives to the mill in a very short amount of time, always on the same day. This is because the olives are kept for a short amount of time after the harvest, the quick transport to the mill serves to maintain the fresh and fragrant taste as well as the quality of the oil.