Ever since I starting importing olive oil, it was my heart's desire to help with a harvest -(raccolta delle olive - as the Italians say). Our friends, Charlie and India (Appassionata Properties - appassionata.com) invited us to take part in the harvest of 2017 in their groves while we were staying in Le Marche. We jumped at the chance. The October day was sunny and beautiful with a high temperature of 72 degrees....perfect!
Here's how it all works - First off, It is important not to bruise the olives during the harvest because this can lead to decay. We spread the nets under each tree and then the olives are either raked by hand or with a plastic rake that looks like a kid's toy. For higher olives near the top, we can used an extender stick. This speeds the process up and forces the ripe olives to fall.
After each tree is cleared, we condensed the olives into a large pile using the nets and scooped them into baskets. Layla, the Italian olive gathering dog loved helping with this chore.
How can you resist the beautiful pups frolicking through the groves??? At lunch time, we drove to a nearby small village for a scrumptious lunch of panini and pizza and of course some lovely local wine! Then back to work to finish our gathering.
After our many trees were cleared and olives packed, we headed straight to the mill for processing.
Watching the pressing is quite fun from start to finish. The olives must be pressed the same day that they are picked. Click on this link to watch how olives are pressed to make the delicious oil.