Welcome back. October in Italy means it’s olive picking time! Since starting my journey in Italy and also experiencing the Italian culture and history I had always wanted to get involved and help with the annual olive harvest. It’s a great way to spend some time outside in the fresh air taking in the views and spending quality time with your friends.
Arriving at 8am my daily commute went from 11/2 hours in London to about …. 40 seconds, so it was a good start! Once I arrived, I was met by our good friend Leonardo who is a local legend. When I arrived, the net that catches the olives was laid out down the hill and I was told the first job was to repair any holes in the net. The net is a vital part of the process as when the olives are falling from the trees you do not want them hitting the ground where they can be trodden on or simply wasted,this isn’t good …. or as our team like to say end of story!
After using small plastic straws to patch up a few holes in the net, we were met by the rest of the team. Our team was now international, with people from Italy, the UK and New Zealand. We arrived at the first olive tree and began preparing the net,setting it up around the tree with our high-techsystem of balancing sticks, tree branches and pallets. Things were just getting started and about to get even more high tech with the arrival of some cutting-edge olive picking gadgetry. Battery powered, extendable and satisfying, we were provided with our hosts new toy, which was a pole that shakes those hard-to-reach olives down from their sun kissed heights into our net. We were now well into the morning picking the low olives,shaking the high ones and collecting the fallen olives. By now we were getting a fair, few olives in the crates.
Separating the leaves from the olives is another job! And no one likes a leaver of leaves! Once we had a decent number of olives it was lunch time,which we enjoyed on Mr C’s patio. We drank local wine and ate fresh seafood from one of the local restaurants whilst looking across the perfect back drop of Arpino.
After our little rest, it was back to work and after some wine inspired acrobatics … which again was a potential end of story moment. We were making good time tackling one of the harder trees to pick,due to its position on the hill.
A visitor! Local wine connoisseur and friend Alessio stops to lend a hand, his bar is a piazza hot spot 🍷 and will feature soon.
Once we had collected the olives and they were safely stored away we had a well-deserved rest and I was looking forward to taking the olives to the factory a couple of days later and watching them be pressed into olive oil!
To the Factory:
I was picked up outside the church in Colle. Leonardo and myself drove to the olive pressing factory. When we arrived, it was busy with people who had also collected their olives. Leonardo and I grabbed the crates and took them inside where I was introduced to the owner and kindly given a tour of the factory. I was shown each part of the process the olives go through to become the oil.
The Fruits of Our Labour:
Picking the olives was great and I’m looking forward to doing it again, it’s another example of how a simple process is made special by the people you meet from beginning to end.
One team one dream ☝🏻
Ciao for now.