Harvesting olives

Olive harvest 2011

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Just when you think you're really clever...

…something (or someone) comes along to tell you different!

We were in the middle of a heavy olive picking session this week, in the bottom grove where it was so lovely and sunny that it was (almost) a pleasure to be out picking olives. It was shortly after lunch, so we were in the lovely stage of having a brief surge of energy.

Up turns one of our friends, driving down the track to find us (the tree shaking machine makes a very distinctive noise, so we were easy to find). An interruption was not really what we needed, but when friends turn up for a chat, work must stop! It’s only polite.

He gazes around at our land. "Not many olives in your nets," says he. I’m shocked. It is a really good year for us, and we thought we had loads of olives! But he’s probably right – his land is at a lower altitude, in a warmer situation, so his yields will naturally be higher than ours.

Then he adds "You’ve left olives on the trees. Ana should go behind Kenton with a long stick and hit the last olives off the tree"

Now really. He’s right, we do leave olives on the tree – maybe up to 20-30 per tree. But there are only the 2 of us picking, so we play the percentages. It would take an extra 20 minutes to knock the last olives from the tree, in which time, we can move the nets and shake a new tree. So for us, that doesn’t make sense.

You can see his point. He generally works in a team of at least 4 men, where you have the extra labour needed to do this. Plus, he learned from his father, and the thought of wasting anything, even a single olive, is just untenable.

So he left shortly after commenting on our poor harvesting techniques, smug in the knowledge that once again, he’s proved himself right!

But we're still happy in the knowledge that our crop this year was the best ever, with wonderfully healthy olives. It's going to be a great year for Yunquera Gold!