“We have to start picking the olives. Without delay.” said Andrea, our agronomist, one day after having visited our olive groves.
We all feel a little excited. Of course, we had been waiting for this moment for several weeks. We had prepared the olive groves: trimmed the grass and removed the branches at the bottom of the trees to be able to spread the nets correctly. Nevertheless, we were impatiently looking forward to this moment.
So here we are. Andrea is formal: the olives have reached the “veraison” stage: the stage where the olive becomes mature but is still often tinged with green, which will produce a fresh oil where flavour, spiciness and bitterness will be harmoniously balanced.
The excitement quickly gives way to organizing the work: deciding which olive grove to start with, forming the teams, checking the equipment and stretching the large green nets between the trees the day before to begin the harvest as soon as the dew has dried on the trees.
Then begins the magical moment of harvest.
We know that the days will be long, walking the slopes of the olive groves, lifting the nets, carrying the crates of olives onto the tractor – with a target of 300kg per day to allow us to make the daily trip to the olive oil press.
But we are happy to work together in the mild autumn sun, to be in contact with the trees that we have followed all year, to smell the olives, to hear the songs of the birds… and to see our sheepdog running from one picker to another and then rolling in the nets.