Report – Olive Oil Pressing at Stella’s Garden Centre Rabat

On Sunday the 27th of October, we were given a tour of Stella’s Garden Centre which has lovely plants, trees, and herbs. We were shown the advanced method of growing seedlings from high-quality seeds which are grown and then distributed as seedlings to farmers throughout Malta who grow them on to produce a variety of vegetables, flowers, and fruit for the local market.
Our guide for the visit was Mr Kurt Grima who gave an informative talk about the process of growing the seedlings and also explained the olive oil pressing method. We were told that in Malta harvesting olives is done from mid-September until the end of November.
The production area has a hopper into which the olives and leaves are placed.  By means of a conveyor belt, the debris can be separated from the olives.  After washing the olives are crushed and kneaded in a Malaxor tank for forty-five minutes. It is here also that oil, water, and solids are separated by centrifuge. The pure oil is then collected.  This natural extraction process ensures the oil retains all the nutrients and antioxidants that are so beneficial for our health. The oil produced is Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it is not heated, nothing is added and the oil is not treated in any way. It takes approximately ten to twelve kilos of olives to produce one lit er of oil. The waste from production is used for compost or for making into logs for use in fireplaces. 
We all appreciated sampling the oil with Maltese bread and bigilla….delicious!
Thank you to Lion Isabelle Micallef for kindly arranging this lovely visit and also thanks to her generous family for hosting us.
Very grateful thanks to Mr Kurt Grima for showing us around and explaining the process of obtaining the high-quality cold-pressed olive oil.
This was a well-attended fundraising event greatly enjoyed by all who came.
By Susan Galea Borg
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