The olive oil business is very labor intensive, culminating in the gathering process. Generally, olive trees start to deeply ripen in December and should be gathered by February. The olives are gathered when the trees are at their peak to ensure that the olives do not over-ripen and also to make sure that not too many green olives are thrown in the mix.
Every olive grove must be visited daily to ensure that the olives are gathered at their peak level of ripeness. Responding to the needs of these microclimates is very labor intensive. Even trees 20 meters apart can have a 2-week differential in maturity.
To add to the confusion, each tree yields fruit only every other year. However, every tree must be cared for as if it were producing that year.
The olives are gathered by hand with the help of some modern tools. First, large nets are stretched underneath a section of trees. Then, workers use a tool to knock the olives into the nets, which are gathered as the trees are harvested. The olives are then put into large sacks, which are taken to the factory (eliotrivio) to be made into olive oil!