The producers, using pulsating harvesting machines and harvesting nets, pick the olives from their groves, and transport them to the mill every day, where common (joint) milling takes place. This practically means that the olives are milled fresh, within a few hours of their harvesting. The olives are transported in jute bags or perforated containers to be aired and maintain their freshness.
The olives are placed on escalators, simultaneously flowing through sieving machines, where twigs, stems and leaves are removed. The leaves of the olive tree are collected in silos and distributed to shepherds in the area, who use them as quality feed for their animals.
In the olive washing machines, the fruits are washed using spring water in a natural flow, without any additional energy. The excellent quality water, springs from the surrounding mountains and is also used to supply the community. It is the rainwater that is saved in the aquifer. In Zakros, every summer, the locals honor this gift of nature, with the Water Festival.
After being washed, the olives are crushed in the Crusher and turned into olive paste. The purpose of the crushing is to facilitate the oil release. The produced olive paste should then be homogenized and made more cohesive, in order to allow maximum oil extraction.
The oil paste is transferred to the malaxers to be homogenized by a series of rotating stirrers. Here, the olive vessels will slowly break, within 40 to 45 minutes, releasing their juice, at a regulated temperature, not exceeding 27 Celsius degrees. The oil droplets will aggregate to separate more easily. Temperature control is necessary for the product to be labeled as of “Cold extraction”.
Once the malaxation is over, the olive paste is transferred to a centrifugal machine that separates the oil from the liquid and solid residues. A very small quantity of filtered spring water is added here to aid the process. The olive kernel, separated at this stage, is a pulp of crushed seeds, water and the rind of the olive fruits. It is the raw material for the production of crude kernel oil and biofuel, for domestic heating or energy production.
The final separation is done in the separator, which centrifugally separates the extra virgin olive oil from any remaining residues, so that it comes out golden green and clean. In this phase we measure its quality characteristics and test its taste and aroma (organoleptic qualities). Cheers!