Olive Production

There are two main processing streams for olives:

  1. Olive oil accounting for approximately 80% of olives.
  2. Pickling which accounts for the other 20%.

The products from both these processes can then be further processed to a wide range of products including cosmetics, margarines, and soaps from the oil; and olive pastes, sun dried olives, table olives from the pickled olives.

Small oil processing plants can be purchased for $15000-$30000.

Delivering to processors

Processors will purchase olives on a contract or ad hoc basis.

Some processors will process batches of your olives for you charging on the basis of tonnage.

Pick olives of the Manzanillo, Mission or Sevillano varieties, choosing those that are light green, pale straw colour, or rosy red. Black fruit will get too soft when cured.

Start processing the olives early in the day. The first steps take at least 12 hours and you must check the fruits’ progress frequently.

For every 2 gallons/10 litres of olives you will need –

  • 1 large container (at least 3 gallons/15 litres), such as stoneware crock, glass bowl, or plastic pail. Do not use aluminum or galvanized metal.
  • Heavy-duty rubber gloves
  • A long handled wooden or stainless steel spoon
  • Household lye
  • Salt
  • Muslin cloths to keep fruit covered in the crock.
  • Prepare a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water in a bowl. Keep it nearby to wash your skin in case of lye burn.

Sort through the olives, discard any that are bruised and measure fruit. Work with multiples of 1 gallon/5 litre units.