Monday, December 10, 2012

Olive Harvest

We harvested our olives on Saturday. Just John and I.  Harvesting olives isn't nearly as glamorous as harvesting grapes, so it's rare we get anyone to help!

But it is still fun....And it was a lovely sunny day. Much nicer than harvesting in the cold and rain as can be the case with a crop that ripens in December!

We were out there for about 2 1/2 hours.  Not too long.  One of the reasons it didn't take too long is that most of our trees are too tall and so most of the olives are unaccessible.  We therefore pick those that we can easily reach by ladder, without risking life and limb and then stop.  The previous owners of the property had planted some olive trees and let them grow tall, so it's only the one's we've planted that are of a reasonable height for harvesting.

There were a lot of olives on some of the trees. They are alternate year crops so tend to have olives one year and none/very few the next...but we have about 13 trees, so there are always some with a crop.

The time to pick olives for pressing for oil is when about 70% are black and 30% are green. They change from green to black.... apart from one tree that always just has green olives.  This is an anomaly - olive trees shouldn't do this, but this one does for some reason!

We took them to Figone's Olive Press in the village.  They will press them and we pick up the oil next weekend.

We picked 111lbs - in just over two hours.  Pretty good going.

Should be enough oil to last us a few years.

But it is tiring and makes your shoulders and neck ache being up the tree and raking them. You can see in photo of me that I have a collecting vessel in front of me that you rake the olives into.  (The hat and sunglasses are protective from swipes of branches!)

This last photo gives you an idea of what we did when we got back from the olive press, to help those aching muscles!


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