Sunday 26th March 2023
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As a Scotsman I never, in my wildest dreams, dreamt to one day be climbing into the branches of an olive tree in Umbria, Italy, let alone my olive trees to be picking olives to make my own Olive Oil. But it is a reality.
Toward the second half of October I look out the nets, crates and ladders and other paraphernalia ready to take them all to the Olive trees and together with friends start the olive harvest. It’s a task I adore. Increasingly we pick earlier each year. I remember days when it was bitterly cold and the wind was biting. With global warming we now start earlier, the olives are ready sooner, the mills open, and we generally pick in just T shirts and shorts. To date I’ve not attempted naked picking, it may happen, who knows….
I’m not going to write too much of the procedure here, I wrote extensively in the past, so scroll back through my posts a good few years and you can learn exactly how we pick and press the olives, and what is my favourite meal of the year.
So nets spread on the ground we pick in company. Some on the ground reaching up into the lower branches, some on ladders propped on sturdy and sometimes not so sturdy branches, and some of us climbing into the trees. It is a delightful sociable time. Lots of gossip, laughter and scandal. Frequent breaks always refreshed by a bag of apples, those small rosy ones picked off the trees that grow wild in the valley, crisp and juicy.