Farm Focus: 2017 Pressing Olive Oil at McEvoy Ranch
We visited McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma last week to see some of our olives being milled and to learn all about the process.
After hand harvesting olives, we deliver them to McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma. We send them to the ranch in 1/4 ton macro totes. Once the olives arrive at McEvoy, they are weighed and then are loaded into a hopper to travel up a conveyer belt where they are fed into a hammermill crusher. This powerful machine crushes the olives, pits and all, into a paste. The hammermill crusher releases more polyphenols into the oil increasing it’s health benefits and giving the oil a longer shelf life than olives crushed on a traditional stone mill.
From the crusher, the paste travels to a malaxer which is a horizontal trough with spiral mixing blades that aid in the separation of the oil from the paste. When the malaxer mixes the paste, it also increases both oil yield and the flavor of the oil. The guys operating the mill use a visual clue to decide when to end the malaxing process, which is typically between 35-45 minutes. They wait until they see a sheen of oil that rises to the top of the mix. Once the sheen appears, they send the paste to a decanter where the oil, water, and paste are separated from one another. Finally, the oil is sent to a vertical centrifuge which polishes the oil. The polishing removes any fine particles that the decanter didn’t separate resulting in the extra virgin olive oil that we provide to you! We can’t wait to offer you the results of the 2017 olive harvest and milling with our Olio Nuovo.