All members of the family take part in this annual tradition: Harvesting the blessing of olive fruit from our very own olive grove. We have about 60 olive trees in various ages (from several hundred years old transplants that were kicked off an avocado plantation about 20 years ago; trees we planted and grafted almost 40 years ago, and newer ones that don't even bear fruit yet).
We take a week off our real jobs and work harder than ever getting all the olives picked between the first rainfall (which washes the dust) and the second. Too much rain will spoil the olives rapidly and make them useless for olive oil. It is more of a regional family tradition than it is a profitable endeavour.
This year I'm especially excited to harvest the olives (a very tedious task, which I never particularly liked) because I've been using a lot of olive oil in my soaps and it's important for me to really experience the connection between the earth, plants and finished products - from start to finish. This is one of the main reasons I moved back to the village, and I hope to also grow and produce my own essential oils eventually.
We grow the "Syrian" varietal, which is very sharp in favour and yields a lot of oil. We press most of them for oil, and set a side a little bit for pickling and eating.
These green olives I set aside for pickling...
Cirque de Huile:
Some olive harvest acrobatics performed by my sister-in-law.
This little rake looks like a toy, but it's actually the most important tool of the trade... We use it to "brush" the olives off the branches. It saves a lot of fine manual labour and does not harm the tree as much as beating it with sticks.
Okay... Time for a coffee break! I will post more pics as the harvest progresses. This year I also plan to go to the olive press myself to make the oil. Going to be fun!