Sunday, January 30, 2011

Europe in 10 1/2 Days. Olive Oil Tuesday.

Olive Orchards doting the
Tuesday at home is Taco Tuesday, for us on Crete it was Olive Oil Tuesday. Olive oil is probably the biggest industry on Crete. Driving around the Island you'll see Olive orchards doting the hill sides. It's really an amazing sight. So, Becca & Jesper through the villa's owner set up a day of following the olive from the tree to becoming oil.

Abby harvesting the Olives.
We started this day walking from the villa's up into an Orchard meeting a local farmer. He and one Albanian laborer was harvesting his olives. The season for olive harvesting runs from mid-November through February.

The actual process starts with the farmer putting nets on the ground so that they may gather the olives once they're knocked off of the tree. The picture on the left shows Abby actually using the equipment to knock the olives from the tree.
Olives in the netting, the
local farmer separates the
leaves from the olives.

Abby bagging the Olives.

On the right, the local farmer rolls the olives to the middle of the nets, then rakes the broken twigs and leaves out of the pile. Then they load the burlap bags, just like Abby is doing on the left. They fill the bags up, probably having close to 50 to 70 lbs. Then they load them onto transportation and it's off to the mill.

Bags full of Olives.
The mills they told us are running 24/7 to process the oil. Like the wheat farmers here, they to will get docked for various things, like to much acid in the oil. The laborers at the mill are usually Albanian's, they come over to work the Olive season and can make enough money in the season for their families to live 12 months.
Processing Mill.
Oil extracting tanks.

Fresh Olive Oil.
The beginning olives get washed on the machine to the right, then continue onto the machine on the lower left, which extracts the oil out of the olives. This machine churns the pulp for around 30 minutes before it is sent through 2 more high speed separators and that is when it becomes oil.

This was really an enjoyable adventure we had this Tuesday.

Pressed olives in the extractor. 
Swimming in the Med!
Afterwards it was off to more great Greek food, lamb chops, and I had sardines. The sardines were pan fried in oil and was very good. Side dishes included Greek salad, always good, a white wine, and of course Raki. After supper we drove over to the beach and some of them just had to get in the cold sea. I had to stay out to take the photo!

The sunset was also the most beautiful one on our trip. We took this photo at the ruins of Falasarna, which is believed to be the site of an ancient city built on the sea, but then a earth quake occurred and the city was raised up and away from the sea.

Sunset at Falasarna.

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