08 Nov

Caltech presses on with annual olive harvest

Article by Janette Williams,
Photo by Walt Mancini,

There were many people volunteering to pick olives at Caltech’s second Olive Festival Friday, November 7, 2008. Harvesters will transfer the olives to crates for commerial processing.

For the second year, Caltech turned what was a major annoyance on campus – olives underfoot from the 130 trees on campus – into a cause for celebration and an example of sustainability.

Hundreds of novice olive-pickers, grinders, pressers and tasters attended the second annual all-day Olive Harvest Festival on Friday.

Faculty and students swept the campus, aiming to match or exceed last year’s haul of 1 ton-plus.

Some olives were processed on campus, but most were crated up for processing by the Regalo Extra Virgin Olive Oil Co., then on to the Santa Barbara Olive Co. for bottling and labeling.

The olive festival was inspired by a pair of industrious Caltech students who decided to press their own olive oil in 2006, using window screens, a trash can and bags of cement as weights.

This year’s olive oil will be sold in the Caltech Bookstore about a month from now, with the proceeds going to fund student scholarships and activities.

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