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Olive harvest and separating the twigs

The 2016 olive harvest season began this week, 3 months ahead of normal. The unusually warm weather is causing the olives to ripen at a very fast pace. Below are the first baskets of olives delivered to Seagate’s plant.

Olives arriving at Seagate

Olives arriving at Seagate’s plant

Usually, the harvest does not begin until the end of December, not the end of September.  This has caught us with a plant full of new machinery, but waiting on the technicians from Italy’s Alfa-Laval factory who are scheduled to arrive in 3 more weeks.  We need these people to complete the training and start-up for the new production line.  This is not stopping production, just slowing us down.  For the moment, we must maintain the same slower system that we have been using for the last 5 years. For example, below is a photo of the separation by hand of the twigs and leaves.

Sorting and removing olive leaves by hand.

Sorting and removing olive leaves by hand.

Had the timing been right with the harvest and the machinery tech, we could have had this machine below operating. This machine washes and separates the twigs and leaves automatically, working at a pace of half a ton per hour … without the need for coffee breaks.

Automatic olive washing machine

Automatic olive washing machine

Eventually we will have all the machinery online and the plant workers trained.  Production of olive oil once we get everything working will increase by 10X.

Sometimes you just have to be patient and everything works out. This is also an important trait for capturing underwater photos. The picture below shows a diver slowly approaching a turtle trying to get a close-up shot.  Usually underwater photos work well when you are within 5 feet of the subject because light travels much more slowly in water as opposed to in air.  Of course, this can be a difficult thing to accomplish if the subject is easily spooked.

Michelle making a slow approach to a turtle

Michelle making a slow approach to a turtle

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