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May 16, 2009 | Olive Oil |

Making Oil at Familia Zuccardi

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.

Empeltre olives ready for processing 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.

Used granite stones for conventional crushing of olives 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. .

Hammermill or moledora 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


Carol Troy's Gravatar
Carol Troy
@ Apr 12, 2011 at 11:17 AM
What a wonderful report on crushing those exotic olives at Familia Zuccardi. I had a splendid time photographing your winter 2007 crush, using Long Meadow Ranch's "old world" granite Pieralisi frantoio. We like the slow crush speed of 600 pounds of olives in 20 minutes. Slow food.... Those 360 degree-spinning blades at Familia Zuccardi sound absolutely terrifying! Carol Troy

Ted Hall's Gravatar
Ted Hall
@ Apr 12, 2011 at 11:18 AM
In response to Carol's comment, the hammermill has become a standard crushing method for many high quality producers. For example, two of California's most well-known producers of high quality olive oils, The Olive Press and McEvoy Ranch, both employ hammermills as the principal crushing method.

The artisanal approach employing stones as used at Long Meadow Ranch is not the only way to make terrific oils.

wanlong's Gravatar
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machine vision lenses's Gravatar
machine vision lenses
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