Our friends Helen and Keith just left–heading back to the Tuscan hills where they make world class green-gold nectar from the olives on their farm.
They have a thousand trees high above the valley of the Arno, south east of Florence.
Last November we went to “help” with the harvest.
Our job was to sort the leaves and branches from the purple green fruit–
–while trying not to crush the newly fallen olives underfoot, and get in the way of the real workers.
These were five and it took them three weeks–(rain stopped play every other day when we were there, which
gave our backs a chance to recover.)
They brush the trees with long poles in downward strokes, teasing the olives onto the nets laid out below.
“Well done, olives–but time to go to the press!”
Every two days Keith loads up the van and heads to the frantoio where the olives make the journey from fruit to oil.
Stone pressing is a thing of the past; now the olives are processed by centrifugation–a horrible word but a cleaner method that produces better quality oil.
A proud moment–for a beginner!
Keith says he gets about a litre of oil per tree.
Last November’s harvest was his all-time second best–that pleased us!