Olive picking resumed yesterday, Wednesday, after rain stopped play for two days–(sounds like the English cricket season!)
We arrived here Sunday night after driving down the Ligurian coast in a storm.
A brief and beautiful pause in Santa Margherita Liguria, Sunday morning–
soon proved one of Mother Nature’s teases as the rain began in earnest again on the road to Florence.
Footage of flood devastation on the Tuscan coast reminded us of America’s East Coast troubles–still terrible for many.
Our friend, Keith, didn’t apologize for the uncharacteristic Tuscan gloom.
You brought the rain and wind with you–from home!
It’s true, it tagged onto our coattails in Provence and followed us all the way.
But today all that is forgotten as autumn returns to its golden glory.
Keith’s team of five work their tough eight hour day on the steep terraces–the clickity-clacking of the picking poles playing constantly in their ears as the pretty little olives, green and all shades of purple, rain down from the trees and onto the nets.
A tree yields a litre of oil, roughly–Keith says.
He has a thousand trees. It takes a couple of weeks to harvest his crop, depending on the weather.
Then our job begins.
Gently lifting up the nets after the trees have yielded up their treasures, we help guide the olives into piles.
We pull out any twigs and small branches that have fallen and gather the olives into the plastic paniers, ready to go to the frantoio to be processed in the morning.
They had four good days last week though the rain has lowered the percentage of oil in the olives, plumping them up with water.
It doesn’t affect the overall quality of the oil–just the yield.
The liquid gold seems even better than last year.
My hands I notice smell of sea water–that slightly salty tang.
Must ask the master about this.
Exhausted olive worker, is now retiring to the shower!