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The gold of Puglia: inside the extra virgin olive oil factory – Reportage with my Leica SL

Hello folks, have you ever wondered how a little tiny fruit can produce one of the tastiest and used ingredients ever? I’m talking about the extra virgin olive oil and how it is actually extracted from olives.

I may admit that even though I’ve always and only used olive oil produced locally, from my family’s farm, so far I’ve never had the chance to see how is actually produced. And I guess that most of you, have only bought it from the supermarket, packed in a fancy bottle.

Well, there is a world behind that bottle, a long history and an incredible process that deserves to be told and photograph!

Frantoio Griseta, where all begins, since 1930.

The production of olive oil is a seasonal process that usually goes on from November until January, starting from harvesting the beautiful olive trees down the spilling into the metal cans.

Luckily, I was in my homeland, Puglia, at the right time, for Christmas time, and together with my dad, I went to visit a family driven factory, the “Frantoio Oleario Griseta”.

The owner did kindly open me the door of the factory line production and for me was like jumping into another world, perfectly organized and full of history.

The cold pressed olive oil

The process of making organic cold pressed olive oil is made of five important stages:

harvesting, grinding, stacking, pressing, separation.

In more details, here is the traditional procedure.

First, the harvesting, done manually from the secular trees in the iconic Apulian countryside. Then, the olives are separated roughly from the leaves and then ground into an olive paste using large millstones at an oil mill. The olive paste generally stays under the stones for 30‑40 minutes.

After grinding, the olive paste is spread on fiber disks, which are stacked on top of each other, then placed into the press. Traditionally the disks were made of hemp or coconut fibre, but in modern times they are made of synthetic fibres which are easier to clean and maintain.

These disks are then put on a hydraulic piston, forming a pile. Pressure is applied on the disks, thus compacting the solid phase of the olive paste and percolating the liquid phases (oil and vegetation water).

At the last stage, a filtering system separates pure extra virgin olive oil from the water and is poured into the tanks, ready to be sold or shipped.

My reportage with a Leica SL

And here comes my part of the job, the photo and video reportage.
To make this reportage happen, I’ve used my great Leica SL and alternate the two lenses i have, Summicron M 28mm f2 ASPH for most of the shots and the Summicron M 50mm f2, for few shots when I wanted a more close up view.

For the footage, I was using the iPhone 8Plus, handheld, just to try to document the whole process.  For the future, I want to equip it with a gimbal in order to have smoother movements. Anyway, I’m quite happy with the final result.

The video reportage

Edited completely on the iPhone using iMovie.

The Photo Reportage



The complete gallery can be seen on my portfolio website here:

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To have more information about Frantoio Griseta and order this great olive oil, please visit their website at:

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Thanks for reading,
cheers, Sabino 🙂