Table olives are picked separately and carefully by hand and placed in picking bags, or baskets, preferably lined with some material to cushion the fruit.Oil olives are usually stripped off the trees onto nets on the ground, but a far better system is to place an umbrella like net around the trunk to collect the olives, so that they are not in contact with the soil and minimal damage occurs.
Olives for green processing are picked when they turn from bright green to yellow green and the first fruit show a light pink blush, only fruit of the required size is harvested while the rest are left for later picking.
Black table olives are picked when they have turned completely black, but before they soften and become overripe.
Oil olives are harvested all at once when most of the fruit is optimally ripe. The oil content rises with ripening and is at its maximum when the fruit is too ripe to produce a quality oil.