If you came to visit us, you would doubtlessly remember this stage of the process. The olives are brought to our mill in large plastic baskets, the sides of which are full of vent-holes, which allow the drupes to “breathe” while at the same time preventing the accumulation of excessive humidity. The olives are loaded onto a pulley and conveyed first to the defoliator, a vibrating device that removes all twigs and leaves, and subsequently to the washer. The olives are then ready for the first stage in the oil-making process, namely their crushing, during which, as the name suggests, the olives are reduced to pulp, either by means of traditional stone mills, or mechanical crushing devices. Stone mills have a gentle, regular motion, but are not ideal for green olives. The more modern crushing machines are better for all those varieties that ripen precociously and yield sweeter oils with a lower phenol content, because their action promotes a greater release of phenols into the oil and can therefore improve its fruitiness and shelf life.