Last week Olive Crazy went back to California. This time for two olive milling and olive oil production courses taught by Pablo Canamasas at the University of California at Davis. Pablo is the oil production technical manager at Boundary Bend Limited, which is Australia’s largest olive oil producer. Boundary Bend is owned by Cobram Estate and has many grove locations in the country.
I enjoyed the introductory course, but was very pleased with the detail in the advanced milling course. Pablo is a wonderful teacher.
The Olive Center at the University made available to the students the Olive to Bottle mobile mill as a process and equipment viewing aid. I took a short video for you and edited out the sound since the mill was in partial action and was loud. This is my virgin upload to YouTube. There is room for improvement but I’m not unhappy with the result.
The main thing missing in the video is the oil coming out at the end. The olive paste was still very dry and the oil had not yet been released. When you see the open metal grid with the auger churning, that is the dry olive paste. The millers are adding enzymes (brown liquid in the plastic cup) to break down the pectins and water (the hose) as processing aids. The stuff bubbling in the tube at the end into the yellow bins is some of the separated water. It was stinky.
The coffin-like piece of equipment is the decanter. It is a centrifuge which separates the oil from the water and the paste. It is a fascinating device made even more fascinating because you can’t actually see what’s going on inside. The miller must use his or her experience to intuit all that’s happening in there.
The olives that are being milled are early harvest Arbequinas. The smell coming off the bin was rich and inviting. I can still remember the scent.
May the sun shine through your branches.