Step 1: When should I bring my olives?
Before everything: It is important to ensure that the mill is open before starting the picking of the olives.
The opening date changes every year, it is broadcasted on this site in the ‘News’ section, and you will receive a mail with all the information, don’t forget to register!
The ancient ones used to say: ‘At Saint Catherine, the oil is in the fruit’ and therefore started the harvest from the end of November to the end of January. Before, the stone grinders were not as effective as our grinders with hammers and they had to crush very ripe olives, nearly too mature.
On the other hand, the tradition was that olives took a ‘first cold’ (in order to be a bit rumpled) so that only the oil remained: it was well calculated because after the autumnal rains, the wintry mistrals dried the fruits. Therefore, the fruits that were brought arrived smaller and lighter and the ‘way’ it was payed which as it is still the case today was according to the weight, cost cheaper for an identical quantity of oil.
Today, and particularly in the Gard, we like the fruity green and the olive oils of young fruits. They have many advantages and the precocious picking of the fruits is recommended because:
-The olive oils that are made with young fruits from the beginning of a campaign will be richer in vitamins and antioxidants and they will be better for your health;
-They will have a better and longer conservation;
-An early picking allows to avoid the last stings of the fly especially if you want to make organic oil;
-The freezes of December are avoided if the harvest has been done before. When it freezes, the mill closes because it is impossible to make a good oil with frozen olives.
The main problem with a precocious picking is:the output and the price of the method, but nowadays we give more importance to the taste of this nectar than to the few additional cents that must be payed!
The oil mills NICOLAS open depending on the whims of mother nature and therefore never at the same date.
The contributor must enquire each year and choose his/her collecting date by focusing on what matters the most for him/her:output, aromas, quantity and according to his/her personnal constraints:holidays, help for the picking…, etc.
A FEW IMPORTANT RULES AND ADVICES:
– The ripe olives don’t fall. The ones that fall are stung and they quickly turn black before falling;
– If you have ripe olives on certain trees and green ones on other trees of different varieties, you can either pick up first the ripe olives then the others if the trees are full. If the harvest is small, you can bring everything at the same time, because if the ripe olives give most of the time (but it is not sure) more oil, the green ones will guarantee an interesting freshness. At the mill, it is useful to assemble them in order to benefit from the advantages of each one of them ;
– Never pick up the olives that have fallen on the ground, they quickly start to rot and the miller will figure it out, he/she can refuse the whole bringing;
– Never pick up the olives when it rains or just after it rained, the wet olives are heavier so you will pay more for the process for the same quantity of oil and also, they might be damaged faster in the crates. You must wait about two days.
When to bring my olives? WARNING:
Think about bringing your olives quickly to the mill and not more than two days after the picking for an optimal quality of oil. Preserve your olives in ventilated crates or in jute bags in a cold and dry location.
Ban everything that can make rot the fruits such as: non ventilated plastic bags or crates, the closed car trunks…
The miller can refuse any kind of bringing of low quality olives for the common good.