Olive Oil Press Factory Frikes - Ithaca, Greece

The heyday of olive harvest on Ithaki is long over, as are the days when women were ferried to the island from Lefkada for the olive picking season, and Raxi alone, had 3 Olive Presses.  Traditionally the picking was and continues to be 'womens' work', and the processes of how that is done, has changed very little over the years  - a tarpaulin, a ladder, a comb and lots of hard work for long hours. What has changed  is that the horses and mules have been replaced by the modern day machinations of Electric Presses and the depletion of the many Olive Presses around the island down to only two  -  one in Frikes and one in Vathy. 

In Frikes, the Olive Press is run by a Co-Operative of around 100 members.  For many years they would press Northern Ithakis olives for 10% of the olive oil from each non-member, but recently that has changed to a cash payment of 10% of the price of the olive oil which is pressed. That alone says something about the changing  importance of olive oil.

Co-Operative Members are first to have their olives pressed

The Olive pulp mounds pile up as more of Northern Ithaki delivers its' olives for pressing.

Ithaki produces delicious olive oil for local use.  Although the harvest was meagre this year, the quality is reported to be very good.  Olive oil is gold on the island.

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