Olive pressing in the restored olive mill known as Tonina Hiša (Tona's House), Istria, western Slovenia. The sound recording is of the wooden spindle being turned in order to press the olive paste and separate the oil and water from the solid material (which unfortunately does not include olives.) The press is part of the museum collection and not intended for use in demonstrations.
When in commercial operation, ground olives were put into sacks and placed on a stone pedestal under the screw press. They were weighted with wooden blocks, boiling water was then poured over to speed up the extraction of oil before pressing. Initially the screw was turned manually but when it became too difficult, a spindle was used. When the olive paste was fully pressed, the workers removed the screw, loosened the paste, poured boiling water over it again and repeated the procedure. Oil was scooped from barrels with shallow metal plates. Some producers also additionally boiled the oil in copper cauldrons to further improve the taste and aroma.
Tonina Hiša in Sv. Peter in western Slovenia is a piece of ethnological heritage that preserves the typical characteristics of Istrian rural architecture and provides a presentation of olive oil making and the way of life of Istrian farmers in the past. Prior to the restoration, the groundfloor rooms variously served agricultural, fruit growing, wine growing and oil-making purposes. This type of the oil mill was very common throughout Istria until the first half of the 20th century.
Sound recordist: Dušan Oblak
Video Recordist: Barbara Grilc
Photographer: Veronika Štampfl
1 min 39 s
Recorded on October 2, 2014
Sveti Peter, Sečovlje, SLOVENIA