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Harvest time at Goedgedacht Olive Farm

Harvest time at Goedgedacht Olive Farm situated on the sloes of Kasteelberg near Riebeek Kasteel

Olives for oil are picked when the olive have just turned green to purple and they’re at their fullest with oil.

As with wine the flavour of the olive oil depends on the variety, the climate, the cultivation methods and the terrain.

After olive trees have flowered the fruit starts to develop. Initially the olives are green and hard. Gradually as they ripen they change colour to yellow-green and then to reddish purple and finally to black.

Unripe olives have high levels of chlorophyll which gives them their green colour. During the ripening process the levels of chlorophyll fall and increasing amounts of carotenoid (the pigment which produces the darkening of the fruit) develop.

The traditional method of olive picking involves combing the ripe fruit from the tree into nets, or hand picking into baskets tied around the waist. Ladders are used to climb up into the trees to reach the fruit.

The quality of the olive oil will reflect the care taken at each stage.  To produce the finest cold pressed extra virgin olive oil the olives will be harvested by hand, treated with the utmost care and pressed quickly.  This helps retain the finest taste and quality.

Oil types:

Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries.

Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.

Pure olive oil is usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.

Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity.

You will also find oil described as ‘first press’ and ‘cold pressed’ – the first press yields the most flavoursome oil and pressing the oil without heat results in a smaller amount of higher quality product.

Camera: Olympus OM-D EM-1

Lens: Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO | Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO