The process of creating olive oil is as old as time itself and despite the introduction of modern machinery that has replaced the ancient methods of turning stones to grind olives, the basic rules remain the same. The olives must be picked from the trees and pressed quickly so that they are as whole and perfect—virginal—as possible. This is because olives that are damaged by bruising or are cracked will begin to decompose and this will spoil the taste of the oil.
At home in Italy our goal was to pick the olives off the tree and bottle as oil within a very short 90 minutes! Olives were never allowed to wait around for any length of time; they were hand-picked, stored, and pressed as fast as possible to capture their freshness.