Milling is done for the year 2018, and we have learned many lessons about olives. Yet again, Mother Nature rules and Farming is a risky business.
Olives are a cyclical fruit, and most growers were down in crop volume from 60% to 80 % this year. Additionally, many people did not even harvest their meager crop. We knew that last year was one of the largest years on record; so, this year would be light. But not this light. Some of the crop reduction is due to the frost at blossom set time last Spring. Some is due to heavy pruning after the large crop of last year. Some is due to…who knows what, back to that risky business stuff.
Many growers were caught between harvesting grapes and harvesting olives. Here in Northern California, wine grapes are usually their primary crop. Olives come second. No climate change, HUH? The very first season we harvested olives, the date was Nov 11. Today, we are harvesting in early October.
The olives that came in were generally overripe. They had a lot of olive fly. Even if everyone sprayed with the only organic spray we have for fly, GF 120 Spinocid, there were less olives so more flies per olive. Some oils may not pass certification because of fly infestation and dryness. This is such a hard year.
One of our growers said to me” this doesn’t taste like my olive oil” my answer…No one’s oil tastes the same this year. Including IL Fiorello. Our oil is very different, not bad or good different, but very different. All the oils we milled tasted different, much less aroma, more bitterness. If you asked us to under-malax the oils, your oil developed with virtually no flavor and you received significantly less volume. If we correctly malaxed, the time in the malaxer for the oil to coalesce, the extraction volumes were enormous, but the flavor was flat. Such an unusual year. Some companies have had to import oil to fill their orders. Strange year.
We have lots of oil to carry us through to next season. (Am I really talking about next season already?) But this year is so very different. It seemed a real struggle to manage the harvesting and milling.
Our mill was better balanced this year; so, the machine was a joy to run. At least one very good aspect of the past harvest season. Our staff is a well-oiled team, so to speak. We have fun working together, and producing great products.
All in all, the operative words are done, finished, complete. Now to bottling and selling certified extra virgin olive oil.
Come visit us and talk olives