`'Eye-Opening' Milling Course at UC Davis - Olive Oil Times

'Eye-Opening' Milling Course at UC Davis

Oct. 8, 2012
Nancy Flagg

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It’s all about the details,” said Pablo Canamasas as he described how to process olives with max­i­mum effi­ciency with­out sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity.

Canamasas was the fea­tured speaker at the fourth annual Master Milling course, spon­sored by the UC Davis Olive Center on October 4 – 6 in Davis, California.

The three day course was a com­pre­hen­sive look at all aspects of olive oil pro­cess­ing from har­vest­ing and milling to waste dis­posal.

Canamasas is the pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cal man­ager at Boundary Bend Ltd., the largest olive oil pro­ducer in Australia, and is con­sid­ered an expert in olive oil pro­duc­tion and qual­ity.

Canamasas’ goal for the course was to show proces­sors how to get as much oil from the cells” as pos­si­ble. Each step in pro­cess­ing oil can be han­dled in many dif­fer­ent ways and the key is to pay atten­tion to the details, record every mod­i­fi­ca­tion attempted and track the results.

There is not just one way of pro­cess­ing fruit” and pro­duc­ers need to find the way that works best for them, explained Canamasas.


Through exten­sive research, Canamasas has com­piled data on tech­niques that can greatly improve effi­ciency. Time, tem­per­a­ture, crush­ing, sep­a­rat­ing and stor­age are some of the many vari­ables that can be adjusted. In addi­tion, pro­cess­ing aids, such as talc, enzymes, salt or cal­cium car­bon­ate, can be added dur­ing pro­cess­ing to extract oil more effec­tively.

During the class, sev­eral olive pro­cess­ing tri­als were run in the Olive to Bottle mobile milling sys­tem. Two batches of green Arbequina olives were processed; one with­out aids and one with talc and enzyme aids. Although the dif­fer­ences were small in the class trial, Canamasas’ research shows that by low­er­ing the malax­ing tem­per­a­ture the cost of the aids can be fully recov­ered and a larger profit mar­gin achieved.

The course also included tast­ing the dif­fer­ences in oil qual­ity aris­ing from defects in the process, such as improper stor­age or over­cook­ing in the malaxer.

Dan Flynn, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the UC Davis Olive Center was host and a pre­sen­ter at the course. He pre­dicted that the course would be the best one yet because of Canamasas’ research-based infor­ma­tion that would ben­e­fit all size pro­duc­ers.

Based on attendee response, it appears that Flynn’s hopes were real­ized.

Approximately 80 peo­ple reg­is­tered for the course from many cor­ners of the world, includ­ing Japan, the U.S., Brazil and Kuwait. The class was designed to be suit­able for all lev­els with the first day an intro­duc­tion and the fol­low­ing days more advanced.

Darro Grieco of Berkeley Olive Grove said he found the class very worth­while and learned ways to mod­ify the fla­vor pro­files of oil from his old growth trees.

Don Lydick and Mac Patel said that the research was phe­nom­e­nal” and per­fect for begin­ners while another par­tic­i­pant called it eye-open­ing.”

Olive Crazy blog­ger Mary Squires attended all three days soak­ing up a wealth of infor­ma­tion.

Toyohiro Takao attended the course because he plans to start milling his crop him­self in the next few years, rather than out­sourc­ing. Takao is a grower on Shodo-shima island, Japan and his olive oil was ranked 82 out of 100 by the 2012 Flos Olei guide. After the class, Takao posted on his web­site from the con­fer­ence that he was impressed with the effi­cient arrange­ment of the mobile mill and was study­ing hard, say­ing it was good to come.”

Canamasas called upon millers to learn every step of the process. He says that they are the deci­sion-mak­ers who will choose the cal­i­bra­tions needed to make their par­tic­u­lar olives into high qual­ity oil with max­i­mum effi­ciency. It’s all about the details.”


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