The IOC (International Olive Council) Maturation index gives a guide as to the stages of ripening olives.
0=Olives the skin of which is a deep or dark green colour.
1=Olives the skin of which is a yellow or yellowish-green colour.
2=Olives the skin of which is a yellowish colour with reddish spots.
3=Olives the skin of which is a reddish or light violet colour.
4=Olives the skin of which is black and the flesh is still completely green.
5=Olives the skin of which is black and the flesh is a violet colour halfway through. 6=Olives the skin of which is black and the flesh is a violet colour almost right through to the pit or stone.
7=Olives the skin of which is black and the flesh is completely dark.
For Olive Oil Production, growers must decide whether to harvest for quality or quantity. Many Australian growers harvest early for quality and may harvest earlier than normal say somewhere around 3. If growers are after quantity then they may harvest late at say 5 – 6. For Table Olive Production, growers should pick when the olives are looking the nicest at the green or black stage. Methods of harvesting There are many different styles of harvesting. (Your trees must be pruned to suit the style of harvesting).
Different methods may include:
- Beating the olives off the tree. (Traditional method not recommended)
- Hand Harvesting including the aid of small hand rakes, picking bags with harness, Pneumatic & Electric Olive Harvesters and Limb shakers.
- Mechanical Harvesting including Trunk Shakers, Limb Shakers, Straddle Harvesters and Oscillating Combs (singular or dual models available).
All methods depend on the fruit removal force required. Usually, the greener the olive the higher the fruit removal force.
Storing and Transporting your Olives