This is a weird Sunday. The steem world is turned upside down and while I am trying to digest the news, I have absolutely no mood to keep posting as usual. As a matter of fact I believe that a circle is closed and steem will never be the same. I am not talking about the value (or even the name) of the cryptocurrency but the feeling of community that I experienced the past 2 years. At least that's how I see it.
Anyway if you feel like reading something more earthly, I want to share today one of my favorite farming posts, using for one more time the excuse of the #showcasesunday, an idea of @nonameslefttouse meant to revive old posts. I wrote this one about a year ago and I think I did a pretty good job!
Olive oil's benefits for the human body are uncountable! It protects the heart, supports the brain, fights mood disorders, slows aging, helps to fight cancer and many many more. It even helps to loose weight, what more can I say :)
In short, it is an amazing food, an incredibly powerful natural medicine and on top of that, part of my job as a farmer! So now that the harvesting is over and I have had my vacations I would like to tell you a few things about how we make it.
Not far from my home there is an olive tree that is more than 3.000 years old and next to it a Minoan settlement. Among the archaeological findings there is an olive mill, indicating that people valued this exceptional fruit since the ancient times. Of course back then they were picking the olives by hand while today there are monstrous machines that literally swallow the trees and spit out the fruit! Here, in Crete, we are somewhere in the middle. We do use electric sticks to through the olives from the tree but most of the work is based on manual labor.
We lay big nets under the tree, throw the fruits and gather them from the net. We remove little branches that may have fell and put the olives into big sacks. And let me tell you, if you think that laying nets is an easy job, think again. Actually it is probably the most demanding task of the harvesting procedure especially in regions where the olive trees are on steep hillsides, like in my area for example!
After the field straight to the production plant. The sooner the extraction begins the better for the quality of the olive oil. The specific factory in the photographs, is not the more fancy one but I had worked there for a season and I felt more comfortable to wander around with a camera and a tripod than to another one!
They empty the sacks into a huge funnel and then the machine takes over! First step is the washing in order to remove the leaves and the dirt from the olives.
Then it is the crushing of the entire fruit into a paste which is transferred to a large tank, something like a gigantic blender that spins really slowly! On this stage it is added water and there is a rise in the temperature. If it is below 27°C (80.6°F) it is called cold extraction and it is in favor of the olive oil's quality. Unfortunately if it is higher it is in favor of the olive oil's quantity so you can understand that many people choose quantity over quality. After 35' to 45' the paste goes to a centrifuge to separate the olive oil from the water and the solid remains.
The last step is to measure the acidity. From 0.1 to 0.8 it is extra virgin olive oil, from 0.9 to 2.0 is virgin olive oil and above 2.0 don't eat it :)
No need to say that the extra virgin one bears the most benefits for you and if it is organic even more!
The product we take from the factory is quite different from the one you buy in the bottle. It has a light yellow-green color, a very smooth taste and gives an exceptional feeling of freshness. In order to be bottled it has to get filtered and it is then that it takes the well-known transparent look. I know that it is difficult to find fresh olive oil but you should try, it is a taste you'll live to remember!