..hopefully yes, but it’s not going to be easy picking this year!
Our thoughts are now about returning to Italy, in time for the olive harvest. We would have left the UK way before now, but unfortunately I did a great job of breaking my ankle several weeks ago, and have spent the last six weeks in a super Storm Trooper boot. Hopefully I’ll get the all clear next week and then we’ll be on our way...Jerry’s already packing!
For us olive picking is one of our favourite times of the year and very much a family affair. The mornings are always hazy and the grass wet with dew, which means we can’t start picking until mid morning, when the sun comes out and dries the moisture on the olives. But whilst we’re waiting for this to happen, Jerry or Braz, encouraged by the children, go to the local bakery to get a tray of delicious pastries, all highly calorific, but we reckon they’re ok to eat as we need all these calories to give us the energy we need for the day ahead…perhaps not!
We pick every tree by hand, it really is a labour of love, and yes, by the end of the second day it does get a little tedious. But every year we subconsciously drift into teams, it's always...the ‘boys’ and the ‘girls’. And then, the competitiveness kicks in..who picks the most olives, who has the least leaves in their box of olives, who has picked for the most hours etc. but all great fun.
This year though it will definitely be more difficult. Due to Covid-19 the olive trees have not been pruned this year, therefore the branches will be thicker and the olives not as easily visible. I really think we’ll still be picking late into the evening and under flood-lights, as we’ll be working ‘against the clock’ for two reasons. One we can’t be late for our appointment at the frantoio where the olives are pressed, and secondly, the olives cannot be stored for any length of time as they will start to deteriorate and become mouldy!
One thing for sure, when the younger members of the family are all in bed, we really enjoy our glass of wine whilst eating dinner and planning the following days picking. But what a relief when we load up the olives and head off to the frantoio, and what sense of pride we all have when we see our oil pouring from the press...It’s at this point when we say,
‘Well done everyone, it was worth it”