The harvesting of the olives is, by far, the fundamental work of the breeding of the olive tree, and the unique one that requires the hiring of manpower in a relatively high proportion.
It has to be this way because of the low mechanization of this work essentially and it is reduced, in most of the cases, to the use of tractors, trailers and trucks to carry out the olives, instead of the traditionally used beasts or carriage.
However, the appearance of the vibrating machines is raising the necessity to adapt the tree to the mechanization of the harvesting; not only to reduce production costs, but to avoid damages to the fruits, that sometimes are excessively struck with the traditional system of harvesting by “vareo” (hit the tree with a stick to make the olives fall). This causes that part of the skin of the olives is lost, which favors the fermentation processes which they increase the acidity of oils. In any case, if the traditional system of the “vareo” stays, this has to be made with extreme care of not damaging the fruits nor the branches of the tree.
The perfect moment for the harvesting of the olives depends, essentially, of the meteorological conditions that happen or have happened in the maturation of the fruit. The suitable time of the harvesting must be when the olives have its critical maturity, considering like so the time in which the fruit has the maximum quality of oil of the best characteristics. Once as soon as there not many green olives more it is advisable to realize the harvesting as rapidly as possible. By general norm annual periods settle down that go from the months of December to March. This annual period is called the olive campaign, during which the harvesters groups will go to the fields to carry out the different tasks of the harvest: terrain preparation, “vareo”, harvest and cleaning.
A condition indispensable to obtain a quality oil is to separate the fruit coming from the tree and the fruit that has fallen to the ground: the “soleo” olives (the ones fallen to the ground) produces oils of higher acidity and with some of its characteristics have been altered.