Olive harvesters are tools specifically designed for branch raking which is both efficient and tree-friendly. Basically, it is a motor rake that - through its prongs - produces rapid oscillations that cause the olives to detach and fall off.
Olive shakers are instead tools which consist of a by a mechanical hook placed at the upper base of a rod. This hook grabs the branch and shakes it with energetic blows, ensuring a harvesting yield effectively equal to that of a harvester, as well as a complete preservation of the integrity of the tree.
Using mechanical tools instead of manual tools allows to save a great deal of time and money, as well as reaching productivity levels otherwise impossible: since they can be mounted on a pole - fixed or telescopic - olive harvesters and shakers can also work on the highest and thickest tree crowns, so the operator is not forces to use a ladder.
The main distinction between olive harvesters and shakers can be made according to their type of power supply:
Besides different motor types, a crucial element when choosing the right olive harvester is the distribution of motor weight on the rod.
Models with pneumatic power supply do not mount any motor directly on the tool, so they are lightweight and handy: their only limit is that they require an air compressor. Instead, the engine of 2/4-stroke olive harvesters is placed at the end of the extension pole, so they are heavier and not suitable for long work sessions.
When buying a battery-powered harvester, it is crucial to consider where the engine or the battery is placed and the quantity of olive trees.
Many heavy-duty olive harvesters, designed for intensive use, for a greater cost they are built with the battery placed at the end of the pole instead of the top, so it is not too tiring to work for a long time. On the contrary, the most affordable models, designed for amateur and limited use, concentrate most of their weight on the top of the rod, so they are not suitable for prolonged use.
An excellent compromise could be battery-powered or 2/4-stroke engine models with backpack to hold the engine or the battery, so as to avoid arm fatigue.
The olive tree originated in Asia Minor, but since ancient times it has spread throughout the Mediterranean area. Archaeological evidence from the Etruscans has revealed that these trees were already being cultivated in pre-Roman times.
Over the centuries, the olive harvest - just like grape harvest - has taken on an emblematic value in many areas: older people can still remember how, in the rural world, what could easily have been a heavy task ended up as a joyful collective celebration.
The playful dimension of olive harvesting in the autumn months has remained unchanged in many rural areas, and manages to become a recreational occasion even for those working in the olive oil industry. However, if in the past it was common to use rakes for the so-called 'combing' of the branches to collect the precious fruit, contemporary technology now makes it convenient to carry out this activity with tools designed to help the olives fall and improve the quality of the harvest, without affecting the convivial atmosphere with an antique flavour that permeates this operation. At the forefront of innovation in the sector are undoubtedly the olive harvesters and shakers.