Today turned out to be a massive processing day!
It began with introductions of the entire crew of guys: Marcos, Alejandro, Franco, and Agustin. Then I went on to study how their machines function and the operating procedures behind them. Agustin, the machine operator was very gracious in showing me how everything functioned. Their system of operations is practically set on auto-pilot, so the processing is very smooth and efficient.
There were 4 cultivars that we ended up crushing: Manzanilla, Farga, Arauco, and Empeltre. We process Manzanillo (bigger, but related to Manzanilla) at LMR, but I have never seen or tasted these other oils. Arauco and Manzanilla were the more spicey and pungent oils. Empeltre and Farga are very smooth, mature oils that have a nice, lingering finish in the back of your throat.
In total, Familia Zuccardi crushed 36,608 pounds of olives in 12 hours. This resulted in oil yields up to 685 gallons. Their set-up is built for speed and efficiency, which today it showed quite magnificently.
One of the biggest differences in olive oil production at Familia Zuccardi versus LMR is the method of crushing the olives. At LMR, we have a very traditional "old world" granite stone crusher. Over 4,000 years ago, this same method of crushing olives with granite wheels was being practiced in Europe. .
Today, though, I encountered another type of olive crusher. The hammermill, or moledora, is a machine that pulverizes the olives at an astounding rate. This is done by a series of blades that spin around in a 360 degree motion. While the stone crusher at LMR can do 600 pounds of olives every 20 minutes, the hammermill here at Familia Zuccardi can run continuously, day and night.
More to come tomorrow. . .
Posted by Jason Moulton
The artisanal approach employing stones as used at Long Meadow Ranch is not the only way to make terrific oils.