Tuesday, 22 October 2019
We saw the first olives of this season being picked on our way out of town last week. The olives on the island though are not quite ready. Everyone, ie our neighbours, are waiting till the end of the month or even mid November so the crop has a chance to plump up a bit, hopefully producing more oil. We had some very heavy rain last month which will improve the quality of the oil and the amount each olive produces
The first olives for eating were dropped on our table in the cafe 2 weeks ago, just a handful. K was very pleased
These are the first black olives, and came from a plot of olives which are watered all year long and are early producers. They are given a bash with a hammer or the back of the hand, mixed with coarse salt and are eaten the next day. They're a delicacy, first of the season.
Olives usually need to be soaked in water for days on end to get rid of the bitterness but these early olives are edible immediately. Even I tried them and liked them.
They don't last long, a week at the most
This years crop has a worm problem and many of the olives have already fallen. The worm burrows inside and eats just below the stalk so the olive falls from the tree. In some areas the problem has almost ruined the harvest. Here many olives have fallen but the trees still have plenty of fruit to be picked
Next door Vaso and her daughter are mending the nets which will be spread out under the trees. They were already cleaned at the end of last season but rocks and thistles tear holes in the material. These have to be patched so the olives don't fall through.
It's one helluva difficult task for these woman. Vaso is in her eighties and her daughter is a retired school teacher. They sit there on the ground in the yard for a week with these huge nets spread around them sewing up the holes.
The neighbourhood is preparing. Soon there will be nets everywhere, even across our roads as branches are raked for their olives. I hope the weather stays dry and warm for a few more weeks. It's a hard dirty job and icy winds and wet trees make it worse.
That golden oil at the end of it is always worth the trouble. Family members travel back to their villages to collect olives from their land, lawyers, doctors and office workers, they all want that extra virgin olive oil which to them is the best in the world.