To capture maximum fresh-olive flavor, cousin Ray harvests them at peak green-ripe maturity, row by row, “just in time” to keep up with demand from the mill. By minimizing time between harvest and pressing, we get fresher tasting oil. This requires constant communication between the farmer in the grove and the crew running the mill.
The reason for pressing the olives quickly after picking is simple. In nature, the olive’s end game is to sprout and grow into another tree, ensuring propagation of its species. So like all fruit, once the olives are picked, they naturally soften and eventually begin fermenting, which helps release nutrients beneficial to helping the pit (seed) sprout into a seedling.
After picking, the longer the fruit is allowed to break down, the more the tiny droplets of oil trapped within the fruit also change flavor. In short, the freshest olives make the freshest oil.
It is true that from an efficiency standpoint, it would be cheaper and easier to keep lots of truckloads of picked olives at the mill waiting to be processed. But that would defeat our purpose in maximizing fresh-olive flavor from our emerald green-ripe fresh picked fruit.