New Study Reveals the Benefits of Hand Harvesting
A new research study from Namık Kemal University in Turkey concluded that hand harvesting results in higher quality olive oil. We have known this since we started but it is nice to get scientific confirmation. They studied six different harvesting methods including the popular pole beating method. The pole beating method is often called hand harvesting but it really is not. This method is very common in our area. It is where you spread mats on the ground and beat the trees with a pole and the olives fall to the mats and then the olives are collected. The only true hand harvesting method is when you pick the olives off the trees by hand and place them in a belly bucket. This is more laborious, and the pickers charge a lot more for this kind of picking but we feel very strongly this is the only way to go.
The researchers concluded that the mechanized methods of picking including the pole beating method bruise the olives and prematurely begin the process of oxidation. This also agrees with all our experimentation. Oddly, the researchers feel that this explanation may be an over simplification and more research is needed. However, the conclusion for us is self-evident, more care in every step of the process produces the highest quality. Read more about the study at the Olive Oil TImes.