Olive harvesting and maintenance of olive groves
- Working period
The months of the year between September and January are for the quintessential time of olive harvesting. In the past, this activity was mainly done by hand; today, the introduction of machinery and mechanical equipment has greatly facilitated olive harvesting, making it much faster and more efficient.
The indicated period for olive harvesting is signaled by the color of the fruit: when it changes from green to purple, it means that ripening is in progress, therefore inside it is increased the amount of oil and substances that are the basis of the nutritional and organoleptic qualities of the final product.
The olive harvesting process
Harvesting methods and the choice of the best time to separate the fruit from the shoots are crucial as they can determine the quality of the final product, whether it is table olives or oil. A very old method of olive harvesting is by olive chopping (bacchiatura), which is to hit the branches of the trees in such a way as to cause the olives to detach, which are then dropped inside special nets. This is a proven technique but risks damaging the olives by hitting them, so it is being discontinued in favor of other methods.
The harvesting and sorting of the olives have a great influence on the quality of the final result. Generally, machinery and automated equipment are used to increase and improve the level of the fruit harvest.
The process of brucatura (the hand-harvesting of olives) is carried out using various manually or electrically activated tools: among these we have the comb, a small rake equipped with a handle that allows the olives to be detached without damaging the branches and leaves. Combing involves passing combs along the branches of olive trees to detach the fruit, which is then dropped inside large nets made of materials resistant to tearing and stress.
A procedure that is not at all popular today involves sculling, the picking of ripe olives that have fallen to the ground: it is not advantageous because the fruit that spontaneously detaches from the branches is overripe and does not possess enough oil, plus there is a risk that any mold and bacteria that have attacked the fruit will spread to the rest of the crop. Shucking is a practice generally applied with the previous one that allows the ripe olives to be harvested by applying a mechanical movement to the trunk for the purpose of making them detach.The harvesting and sorting of the olives have a great influence on the quality of the final result. Generally, machinery and automated equipment are used to increase and improve the level of the fruit harvest.
Machinery and tools for olive harvesting
Among the most valuable tools for olive harvesting is the battery-powered electric olive shaker, commonly known as a harvester, a comb with an electric motor that is indispensable for harvesting olives without damaging the tree. This tool, in fact, passes between the olive branches like a comb and, thanks to the special patented oscillating movement of its ends, facilitates the detachment of the fruit from the branches and makes it available for the next steps. It is a meticulous technique that makes use of combs, ladders and rakes so that the condition of each olive is taken into account without going to harm the branches.
Pneumatic harvesters make it possible to harvest olives even when there are fruits that resist branch detachment and thick crowns.There are two different categories of harvesters, each designed for specific harvesting needs and working autonomy. Electronic harvesters are powered by lithium-ion batteries, while pneumatic harvesters are powered by compressed air. In both cases, these are robust, reliable and high-quality professional olive harvesting products.