Sunday, November 12, 2017

Olive Harvest 2017 Part 02

Puglia, Italy. Sunday 12-November-2017.

The second pass through our trees to pick the later ripening olives. Over the last few years various friends have come out from the UK to help with the harvest. This year it was a full set of friends plus one mum.

Planning session in the local Cisternino pub, Diaulicchie.

The harvest went much as Part 01 but yielded more per tree: 60 kg from four trees as opposed to 26 kg from five.

When we were done we went and harvested our nearest neighbours' trees and reaped another 20 kg. Olives of all different sizes and ripeness.

The happy pickers: Mark (me), Tony, Terri, Gavin, Tania, Kate, Christine, Nigel, Mary (photographer).

We delivered the olives round to our friend Mino in the nick of time just as his first batch was on its way to the press. That meant we were able to collect our own oil in time for the return drive to the UK. The yield from our batch was 14% so that's 11 litres. Excellent.

Harvest over, we took our friends for a trip to see some gnarly trees down on the coast. These are truly extraordinary, ancient looking trees.

Then a dip in the Adriatic has become a tradition with the hardier members of the party - which does not include me.

"It's lovely once you're in" they claim. I'll not put that to the test.

One final harvest before we set off: lemons from our tree on the apartment terrace. Still a little green but they may ripen some more off the tree.

That's it apart from close down of the properties and packing up ready for the long drive home and our return next year.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Olive Harvest 2017 Part 01

Puglia, Italy. Saturday 04-November-2017

This year was a unique two-part harvest. We have two types of trees: five smaller trees with large black olives which ripen early November and four larger trees with small green olives which start to turn black late November.

Previous years have always been a compromise. When we flew out for a weekend to harvest we either came early and picked a good crop of the black olives and smaller, lower yield, green olives or came later for a good crop of green/black olives but lost the early ripeners to windfall.

Now we are retired and able to spend more time in Puglia we were there over the full harvest period. Another contributing factor is having two neighbours with whom we could combine our olives for the press. The local press has a minimum batch of 220 kg, we are lucky to reach 100 kg. Our friends' neighbour was due to pick and press imminently so we harvested the first batch.

The crates, nets and rakes.

Spreading the nets in preparation.

Plum, juicy olives.

Raking out of the trees onto the nets.

As they fall.

Herded olives ready to pick out leaves and twigs.

Approx 26 kg ready to go to the press.

While at the local tyre shop we saw a large 220 kg crate as used by the press on the back of an Ape. No need for a jack with this, the owner simply held it up while the wheel was changed..

When our neighbour's oil came back from the press a few days later we received two 1 litre tins. Very happy with that. Murky, as it is unfiltered, also more than a little peppery on the back of the throat. Give it a month or two to settle and mellow and it will be ready to use.

Next up the "team" out for the main harvest...