Raking olives from the tree
Low tech harvesting - spread nets either side of the tree and rake the olives off the branches with small claw-like rakes. Then herd the olives together by lifting the net edges and empty into crates.
There was also some daredevil ladder-work to harvest the higher branches.
Our harvest - 84 kilo from eight trees
Olives are a bit like apples - crops alternate in size: one year good; the next year less good. Last year the yield was about 30 kg; this year a bumper 84 kg.
The minimum pressing quantity at the local cooperative is 100kg so we tipped ours in with neighbour Mino's. He has many more trees and a bunch of his wife's relatives to help with the harvest. His yield was nearly one and a half tons!
Modern version of the traditional cold press
We paid a little more on the pressing fee to have ours cold-pressed - better for the flavour. The olives are milled to a mud-like brown, gritty paste then spread on circular mats. These are then stacked and pressed under considerable pressure. Each batch is done separately so we know we and Mino get back our own oil.
Our very own organic, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
The end result is a beautiful green oil. Fresh off the press it is slightly acrid and, like wine, needs to mature a little. We will let it stand for a month, also to let any fine particles settle, before using. Looking forward to that :-)
|Trullo Azzurro: beautifully restored trullo in delightful, secluded valley near Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy. Available to rent on a per week basis, sleeps 4-6. For more information visit http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/trulloazzurro|