About Olive

The History of the Olive

Olive Varieties

Olive Varieties for Planting in the Home Garden & Landscape

The Olive Harvest

Olive Facts, Selection & Storage

Olive Tree Cultivation

Olive-When to Pick

Olive Recipes

Olive from Different Countries

Black Olives

Green Olives

The Olive Harvest

Where you live (your "climate zone") will determine which varieties of temperate tree fruit and nut crops will perform best in your home garden, when fruits and nuts are harvested, and which pest and disease problems are more common. This table describes selected varieties that are suitable for home gardeners in California. The number of varieties could easily be doubled or tripled if all heirloom varieties and newer varieties available at nurseries or through mail order were included.

1. Brucatura

This is the traditional method in which the olives are harvested by hand and it is undoubtedly the best in terms of the quality of oil produced because neither the olives nor the ramoscelli (twigs) are damaged. The downside is that its very labor intensive and time consuming. We usually use a kind of small rake to comb along the stems thereby pulling the olives off so that they fall into the nets spread out below.

2. Bacchiatura

This involves beating the branches of the tree with a bastone (stick) or canna (cane) to make all the mature olives fall off. This method is often used if the tree is too big to make collection by hand practical.

3. Scuotitura

Scuotere in Italian means to shake, but the shaking in this case is done by machines, which are attached to the trunk causing the tree to vibrate and the olives to fall. This method would only really be used by big commercial growers due to the cost of the machinery involved, but in the long term its far more cost effective than hiring a labor force to pick by hand.

4. Cascola naturale

This is probably the least labor-intensive method. The olives are literally left to fall off the tree in their own good time into the nets set out in advance. The quality of the oil produced in this way is, however, pretty poor.

Hand Held Pneumatic Combs

A single operator can harvest 800-1000 lbs. of olives a day. We have hear from some growers that they can pick a tree with 150 to 170 kilos in about an hour. (Moving nets and collecting the fruit is extra time). Rake teeth in two sizes to facilitate penetration into the crown of the tree. The combing action of the fingers harvests without damaging fruit or trees. Adjustable rake inclination 7'4" - 7'10" Telescopic extension extends to 11', 10", reaches to 15 ft.

Hand Held Pneumatic Shakers

Hand held pneumatic shakers attach to a standard compressor as used for spraying, etc. A hook attaches to large limbs and shakes the olives loose, similar to the combs above.

Tractor Mounted Shakers

Vibrator type olive picker. The vibrator type harvester is superior to the shaker in that it has only a 1/2 inch travel so causes less trauma to the tree. The device can be attached to a 85 hp tractor and utilizes a hydraulic pump to transfer power to the vibrating head. Harvesting nets are first placed under the tree. The operator grasps the trunk with the harvester and vibrates for 10 to 15 seconds. The vibration works its way up the tree and the olives come raining down.

Side pass Comb Harvesters

Mechanical picking involves several different operations. The first is fruit removal. Side pass Comb Harvesters removed 66% of the fruit in the trials. The fruit that was removed tended to be more mature and larger. Canners want minimal bruising during this step and Side pass Comb Harvesters is fairly kind to the olive.

Straddle harvesters

Straddle harvesters straddle the row as in the trees shown here and the trees must be planted and pruned in hedges.

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