The period in which the olives are harvested is a determining factor for the organolectic and nutrional qualities of the oil produced. Generally it go from the invaiatura olives' green unripe phase to the beginning of their total ripening phase. It changes according to the variety of olives and whether they ripen early or late. It also varies depending on the seasonal weather conditions.
By using the bacchiatura, or "beating down" method, the olives fall from the plant when the olive branches are beaten with long poles. In the hand-picking method, one climbs the trees and hand-picks the olives or uses "combs". This method is slow and costly.
The mechanical picking method picks the olives using "mechanical combs" attached to long rods. Actual mechanical harvesting is done with machines that shake the trunk and the branches causing the olives to fall.
In every harvesting method the olives land on cloths so they are then carefully moved to the transport containers. The different harvesting methods are only effective if careful attention is given to the plant and the olives.
The duration of harvesting is determined by the system and method used and the weather conditions, such as heavy rains, which make it impossible to continue. It is important that harvesting is carried out in as little time as possible because if the olives ripen too much the oil produced will not have prestigious characteristics.
Transporting the newly picked olives has to be done in shallow, perforated plastic containers. This procedure also has to be carried out carefully so as not to damage the olives; any damage could considerably worsen the quality of the oil.
Transporting the olives to pressing and then grinding has to take place within 24 hours of harvest in order to obtain oils with the highest organoleptic and nutritional quality.