Part 2-Olive Oil Harvest & Pressing, La Spremitura delle Olive

Posted by Laney Sachs on December 02, 2011 0 Comments

As I was strolling down the hill from Residence San Rocco to meet Nicoletta for dinner, lovely Signora Graziella Manestrini was walking up, carrying a heavy pot wrapped in a red and white checked kitchen towel.  She had just brought a piping hot dinner down to her husband Signor Manestrini who had been at the frantoio (olive mill) since 7:00 am.


And during the "pressing" time of year, he doesn't leave there until after 11:00pm! But it seems like the long days make him smile even more.

In addition to making their own olive oil, Azienda Agricola Manestrini has over 200 customers who bring their own olives to the mill to be pressed into extra virgin olive oil.  The olives arrive in the trunk of a car, in the back of a truck or pulled by a tractor - all to be made into oil.  Some customers even bring their own special jars, jugs and cans as containers for their oil.

And the customers include anyone from the guy who has a couple of olive trees in his yard to the one with a few thousand trees.  One day when I was hanging out chatting at the frantoio, Signor Franzosi was delivering several crates of olives from his over 1000 Leccino and Casaliva trees.  He also owns a terrific vineyard and have wine will travel because he pulled a bottle of his wonderful Benaco Bresciano Rebo wine out of his truck for me. Maybe I should hang out there more often!  And later that day in Salò, the priest at the local parish was helping to harvest the olives from the trees right outside the front door of the church.  Time is of the essence during the harvest and everyone needs to pitch in (says me who was trying to figure out how to open the wine without a corkscrew).

So how much olive oil does one olive tree produce you ask?  Now for the math part so follow along...or don't and just take my word for it.


One olive tree produces approximately 30-50 kg of olives which converts to 66-110 pounds of olives.  

And it takes 8-10 kg of olives (18-22 lbs) to produce one liter of olive oil which is 33.8 ounces. So this means that one olive tree produces 4-5 liters of olive oil which is 2-3 gallons per tree. 

5 liter bottle 

That's a lot of olives!  So the next time you open your bottle of olive oil, think about all those olives that went into it.  

But this will all be easier when we convert to the metric system which will be really soon, right?

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