A small scale olive oil press is becoming popular for people who want to produce their own extra virgin olive oil. This is a trend that follows the pattern we have seen in homemade wine making and in micro-brewing.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect – George Bernard Shaw
I personally have more faith in family owned small olive oil boutique mills. I found the olive oil quality that is produced by boutique mills more consistent and more reliable. I always buy my extra virgin olive oil from the same family owned mill, within 15 miles from where I live. I also like to watch the hectic days of harvesting during autumn time.
If you have the right size land to grow olive trees, or if you live near olive trees orchard that allows self harvesting or that sells olives, you can consider owning your own home size olive oil pressing. Like any other similar activity, your product will improve with years. You might expect difficulties and disappointments; nevertheless, happiness is achieved by overcoming obstacles toward a known goal
Anyone who masters the art of olive oil milling, even on a smaller scale, has a full control over the process from harvesting through milling to bottling and storing. He will eventually enjoy extra virgin olive oil that perfectly match his or her taste. Just like amateur wine makers and owners of home breweries this hobby is very rewarding as well as demanding. Add olive pickling to olive oil milling and your kitchen will light up with your own creation.
Olive oil milling is a relatively expensive hobby. Even the most basic olive oil pressing set can cost more than $3,000. To get best results, olives should be processed in less than 24 hours after they were harvested. Harvest time is at its pick in October/November and extends to December/January (in the Northern hemisphere), so you will find yourself extremely busy during these months. (Thanksgiving and Xmas occurs during this wonderful autumn season and kids went back to school in September). If you production is 50 liters, you will start with roughly 1,000 lb. of harvested olives, and you will end up with almost 900 lb. of organic waste (pomace and crashed pits, leaves, etc.). You will also need to either grow an olives orchard or harvest olives in a nearby olive trees grove.
Whether in a smaller scale or in a very big scale, olive oil making follows the same basic process as existed in ancient time. Washing, grinding, malaxing (mixing), separating the oil from the pomace, bottling. Luckily, it is possible to buy a complete set that will do the job. The press set will come with an operation manual and cleaning and maintenance instructions.