As soon as the olives are harvested, they are put into specific plastic crates. These are preferable to the old jute sacks since they guarantee better aeration of the olives.
On the one hand, they only hold, at the most, 2 ‘quarte’ (25kg) of olives. On the other, they are covered with holes on all sides, including the bottom, and furthermore, can be stacked one on top of the other, resting on an inner lip, without squashing or damaging the olives inside.
Inevitably, many leaves also end up in the crates, having fallen into the nets during ‘beating’. These, in actual fact, help to keep the olives fresh and aerated.
At the end of the day however, before being taken to the mill, the leaves are removed by means of an antique ‘chitarra’ (‘Guitar’. See video) or by an electric defoliator which separates the leaves from the olives by a jet of air. The leaves, being lighter than the olives, are blown off, whilst the olives fall through. Every olive grower has a defoliator of some sort, be it homemade or modern. In any case, our mill is equipped with a professional one.
We have talked about ‘quarte’. It is singular that Taggiasca olive oil is by now international, reaching even the remotest corners of the World, yet Taggiasca olives are measured exclusively in ‘quarte’ which is a unit of measurement traditionally of Western Liguria, a little known place.
How much is a ‘quarte’? In the Valley of Oneglia it corresponds to 12.5kg. Two valleys away, however, it becomes 12 kg. But two valleys away is already another world...