The ancient olive press in Mi’ilya is a 400 year old family run olive press which still produces oil using the ancient method when a donkey turns the wheel that crushes the olives.
The visit to the olive press is a trip through a time tunnel as to this day the oil is produced in the olive press using stones, a donkey and a roller exactly as it was produced in the olden days.
The house belongs to the Elias family – Sumaya Elias who is the seventh generation working the olive press, receives the guests and explains in detail about the production process for the olive oil as it has been carried out in the family for generations.
Sumaya explains the shape of the lower stone known as the crushing stone which serves as the crushing basin and looks like a huge bowl in the centre of which is a long rod upon which the axis passes which goes through the second stone, the milling stone. A donkey is harnessed to the milling stone axis which turns the milling stone around the crushing stone and the olives are pressed.
After crushing the olives, they are left in 24 rope weaved baskets. The baskets are placed one on the other and compressed by a roller that turns and compresses the sap, the oil and the water, from the olives. In this way the oil is spilled into the pit and from there to an ancient container to store the oil.
The olive oil is stored at the appropriate temperature and in the dark so that it will not spoil.
You will also be able to see that one of the walls of the olive press borders on a fortress, with ancient clay utensils in which oil was stored in the past and other utensils for storing the oil.
In the harvest season when the olive press is active you can see the olive press during the olive oil production process with the donkey turning the milling stone in action.
Olive oil produced in the olive press is available for purchase.
A half-hour explanation by Sumaya – NIS 10 per person.
Open for individuals, couples, families and groups coordinated in advance only.
You may add a hot beverage and light refreshments for extra charge ordered in advance.